When Andy and I first started dating, we ate out a lot -- mainly out of convenience. We were living 45+ minutes apart at the time, so it was easier to just meet halfway for dinner. However, once we got married, we really reigned in the restaurant visits and started meal planning more intentionally.
Now, we typically go out to eat for three different occasions:
1. It's some sort of birthday / celebration / the occasional date night
2. We're out and about for the day / evening and need to eat
3. Out with friends (happy hours with girlfriends, lunch dates with my auntie, etc.)
Other than that, we typically eat at home because it's a lot healthier. We buy groceries once per week and that lasts us until the next week. We also bring our own lunch to work 95% of the time.
I don't like leaving a restaurant or evening out feeling stuffed nor do I enjoy waking up the next morning with feelings of regret. Sticking to my typical diet while out is an easy way to stay on track. Don't get me wrong, if it's a birthday or special occasion, I'll have a treat or order something different than usual, but 9 times out of 10, I tend to stick with what I know and like.
I'm also a huge advocate of balance -- and enjoy little treats here and there throughout my week. Sometimes it's a piece of candy after lunch, other times it's a bowl of ice cream while watching a show on a weeknight. I think that because I don't feel deprived during the week, I don't feel the need to "go all out" whenever we eat at a restaurant.
I always order an ice water with lemon whenever we're out; I'm not a pop / soda drinker so it's easy for me to avoid those. I also rarely drink alcohol and when I do, it's usually when I'm out for a happy hour with girlfriends. My drink of choice on those evenings is almost always a glass of pinot grigio.
If there's a bread basket, I'll usually skip it unless I'm absolutely starving. In that case, I'll have part of a piece of bread with some olive oil + balsamic, and leave the rest. On the other hand, if we go out for Mexican and there's chips and salsa, you'd better believe I'm participating in that because that's one of my favorite things. When we go out for Mexican, I like to enjoy the chips and salsa and then order a lighter meal -- like the veggie tacos or a salad. Since I had chips, I'll typically just eat the insides of my tacos and leave the shells behind. It's really all about balance.
When it comes to ordering an entree, I like to still stick to my usual way of eating, which is clean and vegetarian with some treats thrown in for good measure. I almost always order a salad or soup unless it's somewhere like Lagos Tacos, where I'll order the vegetarian tacos. If we go out for pizza, I'll usually get a salad and then enjoy one slice of veggie or cheese pizza -- depending on where we are.
It's rare that Andy and I will order dessert unless it's a birthday / anniversary, but if we do, then I'll be more conservative with my meal, if that makes sense.
PS I'm linking up for Tuesday Talk today!
What's your approach to eating out?