Surviving Lunch Meetings
A how-to guide for getting out of business lunches without putting on extra pounds.
A new client is coming to town, and it’s up to you to make him or her feel at home. That means a break from your daily routine that includes a lunch out at a local restaurant. Exciting as it may sound, you know the temptations that surround you whenever you eat out. Because there in the wide world of restaurants, you’ll encounter all sorts of tasty-looking foods that are as fattening as they are delicious. And when sitting across from your client, it’s hard to say no to a server.
How do you walk away from a lunch meeting with your good health in hand? By following these steps.
Step #1: You Choose
If it’s your responsibility to take a client to lunch, you should have the opportunity to choose where to eat. Instead of picking the closest or most expensive place around, go with a local eatery that has healthy options that are truly healthy. Even better, go with a restaurant that doesn’t offer many unhealthy options. This way, you don’t have to worry about being tempted with fatty foods, as there aren’t many available on the menu.
Step #2: Feel No Guilt
Don’t get to pick the restaurant? You should still be able to choose what food you want and how it will be cooked. Instead of getting your meat fried, ask for it to be grilled or baked. Have an option of French fries or a baked potato? Go with the potato. And don’t ever worry about inconveniencing the restaurant staff when you ask about an alternate cooking method. It’s what they get paid to do.
Step #3: Eat First
If you know about your lunch date well in advance, you can plan. Eat a healthy breakfast to start the day, and an hour or so before going out with your client, grab a sandwich, a salad, or another healthy and small pre-lunch snack. This will keep you from going to your client lunch feeling so hungry you can’t control your choices. It’ll also help you get a smaller lunch and a smaller ticket for your lunch.
Step #4: Talk, Talk, Talk
With your food sitting front and center, it can be easy to forget why you’re there in the first place: to get to know your client a little bit better. Spend your time wisely and avoid eating too much by using your lunch to talk more with your client. When he or she is talking, listen well and chew quietly. These small steps will keep you so engaged that you won’t have time to gorge yourself. Instead, you’ll wind up eating just enough to give your body what it needs to go strong for the rest of the day.
Step #5: Avoid Alcohol
You may think you can have a drink here or there and maintain your composure, but drinking with a client could open you up to all sorts of issues. Granted, if your client orders a glass of wine, there is nothing wrong with doing the same. Just be sure to stick to one glass of wine, and drink more water than you do wine to dilute its effects. After all, you don’t want your first business luncheon with a new client to be the last one, and you definitely don’t want to down a bunch of extra calories from your drinks.
The Outdoor Factor
If you’re participating in a business luncheon to celebrate a coworker’s birthday or raise, look for a restaurant that offers outdoor dining. This gives you ample opportunity to soak up some vitamin D, get some much needed fresh air, do some people watching, and relax before going back to your indoor office.
For a more exciting option, cook all the food needed for the special lunch and bring it to an outdoor area for a lunchtime picnic!