Eating out 101. How to eat healthy. How to avoid the temptation. How to feel like you splurged without actually ingesting multiple fried foods.
My husband and I do not eat out often but when we do I like to try and keep my meals and our daughters fairly healthy. Now don’t get me wrong, there are the days when fries and wings win. Those days happen and there are no regrets. WE have a good time, usually with good company, and cold beer.
Eating out can be tricky. Most often people come to a restaurant with a craving or meal in mind. It can seem hard to find anything healthy on the menu that’s not plain old grilled chicken! But let me assure you, there are options!
This is my guide to eating healthy while eating out. You may not be getting the quality you would at home but you can find healthy options (almost) anywhere!
- This post says ‘almost’ so I am just going to clear it up quick that my almost means fast food. While there seems to be healthy options, there just is not. The food is of such low quality it can not be considered food. The meat is loaded with sodium, nitrates, msg, and others nasty ingredients. The breads are more food like item than they are actually bread and the cheese usually isn’t even real! Just do us all a favor and don’t eat fast food.
- Chose a good quality place. Chains tend to make their meals from a lot of frozen junk. Each time you cook, freeze, heat, or handle food you are losing nutrients. If you can find a place that serves higher quality food, do it! There will be less additives in your meat, you are more likely to see healthy options on the menu, and there are generally less fried foods! My husband and I found a place on our anniversary that was farm to table. They had a garden outside and fresh meat. Jackpot!
- Pick a restaurant that cooks their meals to order. Preferable one without a microwave in their kitchen. You can ask at the front how their food is prepared when you order. This way you can make some changes to the cooking process. Also, the food should be fresher and more nutrient rich. Microwaved food is nutrient poor and who knows how long it has been sitting before coming to you.
- Find A meal you might like and make a few changes. One thing to always ask, is for your meat to be cooked using less, no, or a higher quality oil. Even ‘grilled’ meats at restaurants are cooked using loads of oil (usually vegetable). Ask for yours to be cooked without it. Most all places are great about this! Same goes for your side dishes. If you are eating something fried however, these changes cannot be made. I suggest sticking to other foods! Another change you can make is asking for a sandwich or burger without the bun. Most restaurants use low quality, white bread (no nutrients there)! Skip the bun and ask for yours to be wrapped in lettuce.
- Skip the Appetizer. Most appetizer menus are solely fried foods or foods of lower quality and most come with loads of ranch dressing. Lots of calories and little nutrients. Unless you can find one that is not fried, not laden with some kind of sauce, and has actually nutrients: skip it!
- Quit judging your meal by the calorie count. Restaurants have recently been putting the calorie counts next to meals. This is crap. So are the healthy options sections. They are generally only there because they are lower calorie or are made with low-fat junk. Calories do not count, nutrients do. Find a meal that is full of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs. Find a meal that has some color to it. Your body needs fuel not calories. Which brings me to number 6:
- Always go for a protein. Whether it be on top of a salad, a burger, or a sandwich. Try to have some kind of protein in your meal. Protein slows the digestion of carbs, making it easier for your body to use them as energy and not to store them as fat. Protein is nutrient dense and a healthy addition to every meal!
- Drink Wisely. Water is always a great option and always order water. Even if you are drinking another drink, have some water too. If you are getting tea, ask for unsweetened and sweeten it yourself if you want to. Obviously, avoid soda (always not just while eating out). Alcohol, its going to happen, enjoy it. Wash it down with a glass of water between each glass of alcohol.
Eating out does not have to be a bore or a complete splurging feast! Try to find some middle ground in your meal.
Any other great tips on how to eat healthy while out? I would love to hear them!
I am strong. I am capable. I am powerful. i am beautiful.