For the past two months, the four women tackling the Live Longer & Stronger Challenge have worked toward better heart health with inspiration from . They’ve adopted smart eating habits—including tactics on what to do when eating out. Restaurant dishes can pack on the calories, but the participants have learned how to make wholesome orders without sacrificing fun. (They’ve dropped about 62 pounds total so far!) Read on for the lowdown on their clever dining strategies.
Before the Challenge, Olga habitually ordered diet soda, desserts and unhealthy appetizers at restaurants (loaded baked potatoes and French fries were some of her favorites). Now, her go-to dishes are grilled fish with grilled zucchini and roasted chicken with mixed veggies. Her trick to avoid temptation is to down 16 ounces of water and munch on celery and carrots en route to the restaurant so that she doesn’t arrive famished, which can lead to poor ordering choices. The changes have clearly helped; she’s lost 18 pounds to date.
In the past, Kim would grab a bite at the drive-through or order take-out nearly every day after work. Today, she chooses more heart-friendly fare: grilled meat, steamed veggies and salad—sans the croutons. She makes sure the waiter knows that she’s trying to limit calories and fat, requesting that butter not be used when making her dish. Once her meal arrives, she tries not to eat everything if it’s a large portion, opting to take some home as leftovers instead. Her persistence is paying off—she’s dropped 13 pounds so far.
Shanna used to eat whatever she wanted at restaurants, thinking that frequent exercise would make up for it. Despite training for a half-marathon from September 2013 through April 2014, she dropped hardly any weight, but she’s shed 15 pounds on the Challenge so far. But that doesn’t mean she’s missing out on her favorite foods; she simply tweaks how they are prepared. For example, she’ll order grilled (not breaded or fried) chicken Parmesan, opting for lowfat cheese and marinara. And when dining out with girlfriends, Shanna orders first so she can avoid being enticed when her friends choose not-so-nutritious items.
For 20-somethings like Lindsay, eating out is a large part of social life. She didn’t focus much on what she consumed before the Challenge, enjoying desserts and fried food. Now, she skims the menu in advance, choosing a healthy pick (like seafood) so that she isn’t swayed by high-cal dishes upon arrival. She’s also asked to replace a potato side dish with veggies and fries with a salad. Lindsay, who has lost 16 pounds to date on the Challenge, finds that her new method leaves her satisfied instead of stuffed like in the old days.