BE Savvy

3 Easy Ways to Eat and Drink Healthy During Business Dining 

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Business Dining (Image: iStock.com/kupicoo)

So, you’ve had your workout routine going, and have been prepping your own healthy lunches and dinners. You were all set to lose those extra pounds gained this winter.

Then, here comes summer, ushering in more business lunches and dinners, professional conferences, and travel assignments. You don’t want to be that person who everyone at the table side-eyes for asking too many questions about how a dish is prepared, and you don’t want to make your dinner guest feel awkward by eating too little or not partaking in happy hour.

Here are three tips to help you get through it all:

1. Cut Down on the Liquor

Studies have linked moderate consumption of alcoholic drinksespecially mixed cocktails—to weight gain. Most of this is due to the calorie content of sugary mixes and juices added to cocktails. For example, one margarita can have more than 150 calories, compared with a white wine spritzer, which has less than 100.

If you just can’t get through that lunch or dinner without a stronger spirit, experts recommend nixing the chasers altogether and going with a top-shelf option on the rocks. For example, an ounce of 80-proof vodka, gin, rum, or scotch contains 64 calories and the same amount in 100 proof varieties has 80 calories. The average neat cocktail contains 1.5 ounces of liquor, so you’re still keeping the calories lower than if you’d gotten that Bloody Mary or Long Island.

2. Look Up Menu Options and Plan Ahead

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends researching the meal options at restaurants and checking online menus if available for nutrition information before the scheduled dinner. If you’re being invited to a business dinner or lunch, request a particular restaurant that has a diversity of healthy options. Oftentimes, the inviting party wants to appease anyway. Hey, anything to close the deal or come away with the promise of a long-lasting business relationship.

If you’re at a conference, nutrition buffs recommend skipping donuts and muffins and going for fresh fruit or juices. You can also ask for the vegetarian or non-meat banquet meal options if available.

3. If All Else Fails, Doggy-bag Half Your Meal

We know; this can seem like an obnoxious and annoying request, but some restaurants will oblige. If you can discretely ask a server to take half your meal from the start and put it aside for taking home, do it. If that’s not a possibility—or you just cringe at the thought—the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests visualizing how your portion should be and eating accordingly.

Also, many popular restaurants have special menus for low-carb, low-sodium, and vegan options or they highlight the healthier meals via their own menus.