Having time with the family is wonderful.  We get to relax, hang out, watch movies, play and talk.  Long weekends are a great time for extended family activities, but not necessarily good for watching what you eat.  Eating out is murder for any diet even if it isn’t extremely strict.

Recently, we have been trying to keep gluten out of our daughter’s diet in an effort to improve the condition of her eczematous patches on her arms and legs.  As long as we are strict the patches seem to recede and not be so red or broken.  It is difficult though to maintain the same level  of strictness when we eat out of the house.  At home I make sure to have alternatives for bread, cereal, breading, baked goods and crackers to make sure she doesn’t feel left out and more likely to cheat; she is a little girl after all.  At restaurants especially at the large chains they are less than eager to comply with requests for gluten free alternatives.  One time I asked for some corn chips instead of the bun on  my daughter’s sandwich and the server very coldly just looked at me and said, “NO”.  Thankfully, my DH had ordered a beer and it was part of some promotion that they were having that they would bring corn chips and salsa with the beer.  So, that day there was no problem, just a waiter who had no compassion for my daughter’s

dietary limitation.  It’s nothing I should be surprised about.  My mom has dealt with that with sugar and fruit for as long as I can remember.  I can’t count how many times we have specifically asked to make sure that the food was not sweetened or did not have a fruit component and she be brought a plate of food that would have sent her to the ER if she had eaten it.  Suspecting the impatience of a good number of restaurant employees we recoil at the thought of complaining and requesting a new (possibly disgustingly contaminated) plate of food.

Anyway, even though I personally do not have any dietary restrictions other than  my current attempt at watching calories and eating healthier it is still difficult.  Even salads can turn into an abyss of unwanted calories.  At Applebees for instance their salad’s come pre-dressed.  You can ask for the dressing on the side, but the 4 tbsp. of dressing is not the only thing that makes them calorie dense.  There are cheeses, croutons and larger than normal portions of meat, sour cream and other accompaniments.  Plus, some come with very greasy corn chips or garlic bread.  Whereas you can get a steak dinner with a yummy spinach and cheese stuffed portabella mushroom cap and roasted potatoes for less than 550 calories the salads will rack more than 1000.  That simply will not work if you are trying to stay to a 1500 calorie diet.
Even though we found ourselves eating out quite a bit this weekend I was happy to see that I had not completely ruined my diet.  I weighed in this morning on the Wii before doing some yoga and found that though my weight had not gone down since my previous weigh in it had remained stable.  Just for good measure I’m back to lots of veggies and fiber and some new exercises to keep me flexible and my blood pumping.The extra breads, chips, salsas and offering of sugary sodas all creep into your calorie count with surprisingly high numbers.  As difficult as it may be try to stay away from these diet thwarters or at least limit yourself to one small serving so you don’t feel deprived or left out.  One piece of bread with butter of olive oil or 7-11 corn chips with 2 tablespoons of salsa will be about 150 to 170 calories on top of what you’ll be having for your meal.  Drink water with lemon bring along your own stevia (I hate using aspartame or sucralose sweeteners) to make a refreshing light drink that will quell your need for something flavorful to drink.  Locally most restaurants drinking water is atrocious and tastes either highly of chlorine or dirty like the river bottom (nothing like water in Chicago, their’s was great!) so a squeeze of lemon or lime and a touch of stevia is great to mask this otherwise unpalatable water.