Tuesday, November 25, 2008

end-of-session celebrations

to our 5.5 readers (a number i hope will increase soon :),

I wanted to share something with you that I recently did in my class that worked very well. I think it could be a great "end-of-session" activity, as well. My class meets in the evening, so instead of having a regular meeting one night because of the church being booked for another event, we met off-site at a nearby Mexican restaurant. Yes, that's right - a Mexican restaurant. We just covered the "Eating Healthy When Eating Out" section of the Member's Guide, so I felt it was only fitting to test out not only their knowledge but ability to put that knowledge into practice. And for Texans, giving up Mexican food is, well, it just "ain't gonna happen." So, they need to know how to maneuver that menu - it's practically an essential life skill for weight-conscious southerners.

Now listen, I didn't just throw them out to the proverbial wolves. I prepared them for what they'd be faced with and talked them through some scenarios.

- instead of chips, we could ask for corn tortillas instead. delicious, filling, not fried, and a perfect substitute for dipping.

- OR we could just put a few chips on our little plates and enjoy them slowly - focusing more on the conversation than the food.

- we could split items as the portions are always too large

- we could subsitute heavier sides (refried beans) for lighter ones (charro beans), and ask for things on the side (i.e. sour cream, guacamole, cheese, sauces, dressings, etc.)

Then I went online to the restaurant's website and printed off the menu. I went through each page, circled items that were "dietitan approved" and made notes by those that were okay, but with a few simple substitutions could be great. I made copies of the edited menu and handed them out to my group the week before we went.

I had only five come to dinner that next week. It was very rainy here, so I wasn't too surprised some chose to stay home. But we had a great time and found our meal to be very delicious and guilt-free. Here is what we ordered:

- 1 cup of chicken tortilla soup (broth based) with extras on the side (cheese, sour cream), a side salad
- 1 cup of chicken tortilla soup " ", and a soft chicken taco
- chicken and grilled vegetable fajitas for one split two-ways, with the extras on the side
- 1 chicken tomatillo enchilada with sauce on the side, charro beans, and a bean tostada (of which only half was eaten)

Two of my ladies were completely shocked that (1) their "light" food tasted so good, (2) that they were completely satified at the end of the meal, and (3) that it was so easy to choose well and still feel like they got to enjoy authentic mexican food. It was so neat to see the look of surprise come over their faces as they both agreed that truly, this was not that difficult to do (eat well at a place they normally wouldn't and still enjoy themselves). It was a great teaching moment!

Also, since you will be covering "Modifying Recipes" towards the end of your session, it would be great to have your celebration be a pot-luck dinner with "modified" (read: 'healthified') foods made by your group. I will be doing this with my group tonight, and I think it will be delicious!

What are some of your ideas?


  1. what a great idea! I've been looking at restaurant menus online more since starting FP4H or asking for the nutritional breakdown flyer when I'm there and I'm really surprised how unsurprised the waiters really are at that request. I guess there must be other people out there who do it too. (just none I ever ate out with before :).

  2. Thanks for sharing. I may have to try that in my next session, especially since so many people eat out...a lot. Also, I liked your idea of printing out the nutritional info in advance. Planning makes all the difference! Keep your posts coming! We enjoy them.

  3. I really like the idea you have here for the last session. The hardest thing for me to do was eat out without stuffing. I'll never forget the first time my husband and I went out and I *DIDN'T* gorge myself. There were many times that we'd eat out that I'd have to fight vomiting because I'd eaten too much. It was a major accomplishment that I ate ONE roll, and only half my meal (baked fish instead of something fried).

    I think I'll do this after we get our program going.


Thanks for your feedback!