Healthy Eating at Restaurants

Healthy Eating at Restaurants

So you just started a new fitness routine, then your friends ask you to go out for a bite to eat on Friday night..All of a sudden you get nervous about the thought of food temptations and getting “off track”. Maybe you even politely decline with a fear that you may derail all of your hard work.

That is certainly not a way to live your life!

LIving a healthy and fit lifestyle is about learning how to balance all aspects of your life – including your social life!

Why is it that eating out at a restaurant is such a challenge when you are trying to improve your nutrition? More often than not, you can make modifications, substitutions, special requests, and stay on track with a problem! YOU are in control.

Really, it does not have to be over complicated, when you go out to eat at restaurants the servers are usually very accommodating. If they are not, just tell them you have an allergy.

All of a sudden, they will be able to accommodate your “special needs”.

I know because I have done it before! I am probably the worst pain when I go out to eat, but I always get the my food prepared the way I request and it is down right delicious!

Next time your friends invite you out to eat, don’t go hide and eat at home. Get out and have some fun! Nourish your body with wholesome food and enjoy yourself!

Here’s some suggestions you can try at the restaurants:

  • Drink water

  • Salad dressing and all sauces on the side (or completely omit).

  • Ask for your lean meat to be grilled or saute without the butter and oil.

  • Choose veggies as the side: Steamed without butter. Then you can add sauce if you feel it is necessary.

  • Try to avoid all fried items such as french fries, onion rings, chicken tenders, etc.. Opt for brown rice or rice medley, sweet potato, garden salad, roasted veggies, steamed vegetables.

  • Burger: If you decide to go for a burger, skip out on all of the mayo! Instead → mashed avocado or mustard, and top it off with lettuce, tomatoes, onions! And. If you are cutting back on your carbs for some (crazy) reason, ask for your burger to be in a lettuce wrap! You will not sacrifice any of the juiciness of your burger patty, but you will save yourself a ton of simple carbs!

The

Breakfast Food:

Egg dishes are very easy to make healthy. I always ask for a couple of whole eggs and egg whites! Add in some chop veggies, hold the cheese, and then ask for your eggs to be cooked without oil, with the cooking spray!

Side note….

A few years ago I was at a breakfast café and I had front row seats watching the cooks make the omelets! Everyone thinks that eggs are such a healthy choice when dining out, but this chef put tablespoons of butter on the pan before cooking the omelets.

Butter with a side of eggs, anyone?

To complement my omelets or egg dishes, I typically go for a side of fruit opposed to the toast or muffin option. If there are berries on the fruit menu, that’s even better! Berries are fantastic and loaded with nutrients!

Instead of hash browns, I sometimes just ask for some sliced tomatoes. If I am dining out with my friends then they may eat my hash browns, or we will order a side of dollar pancakes and each take a few bites! Trust me, I have quite a big sweet tooth..so I understand. That’s why I satisfy it with just a couple of bites and I am golden!

Sometimes the items on the light and fit or “healthy” menus really aren’t that great for you! I’ve seen things such as full fat yogurt with berries and granola,  oatmeal with brown sugar and cream, and omelets with 3 to 4 whole eggs, cheese, and bacon on the “healthy menu”.

People will believe anything….Don’t fall for it!

Italian Food:

While dining at Italian places, I might get a grilled chicken salad with dressing on the side and cheese omitted. Sometimes they will have chicken pasta dishes and I can ask for steamed veggies or green beans instead of the pasta noodles! That is pretty awesome, right?

Mexican Food:

Mexican restaurants usually have huge grilled chicken taco salads that are satisfying! I use extra salsa for the “dressing” and omit the cheese / sour cream. Skip the taco bowl – don’t eat that – it’s evil.

Another option is fajitas! Ask for black beans instead of refried beans and corn tortillas instead of flour! I love salsa so I load my fajitas up with tons of salsa!

It’s those darn chips that gets everyone into trouble at the Mexican Restaurants. Even if you’re not a fan of chips, you will eat them because the servers put them RIGHT in front of your nose. That’s wrong.

Ask your server that you would like to skip the chips. Sure, they may think you’re crazy. “Think what you want, I have goals”.

Steakhouse:

The perfect opportunity to get a juicy piece of protein and pair it with some fresh vegetables for dinner! I usually go for a grilled piece of salmon or chicken, baked sweet potato, and roasted veggies. Simple and delicious!

Alcohol:

Ah, another temptation. Beer and specialty drinks seem to be the “go-to” when people are out socializing with friends! A drink once in a while it is not going to completely derail you from your progress, but they are definitely for special occasions only!

If you are going to have a drink with friends, ask for club soda instead of a sugary mixer or go for a light beer. Red wine is a good option, as well.

Set your alcohol limits before you go out and stick with that! You will be glad you did.

Dessert:

You know it’s coming…you finish the last bite of your entree and the server comes around, “So how we feeling? Can I get you some dessert tonight? We have this killer chocolate cake..”

No, just no. You have managed to make decent decisions so far, don’t ruin it with dessert! Condition yourself to just say, “No thank you” when the server comes back with the dessert menu.

If you’re out with friends and you absolutely must, just order one dessert to split with the whole table.

Just remember, you don’t need to be anti-social just because your friends are going out to eat. You can go to! Just be more mindful of the choices you make.

Also keep in mind that one indulgent meal does not ruin your progress. You are HUMAN!

Do you have any healthy eating tips that you follow while dining out? Share your restaurant tips in the comments below!

XO

Christina

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