Eating healthy while eating out is such a challenge. When you’re out at a restaurant it can be so tempting to order that juicy burger or slice of cheesecake. And if the people you’re eating out with are ordering those types of things, holding your ground and sticking to your diet can be that much harder. With 4th of July right around the corner, I know there’s going to be a lot of dinner parties, barbecues, and cookouts to celebrate the holiday. A lot of people use this coming weekend to go on vacation. And that’s what I’ll be doing.
I will be in Omaha, Nebraska this 4th of July weekend. While I’m there I won’t have much access to a kitchen, so I won’t be able to prep and cook the meals and snacks I usually eat at home. Most of the meals I’ll be eating are going to come from restaurants. At first, the thought of this scared me. I just started my clean eating challenge and I don’t want to stop right in the middle of it! But then I realized that not all restaurant food is bad food. I did some investigating and found that there are so many ways to make a restaurant item fit your nutritional standards.
Here are some tips I found:
Check the menu before you go. Most restaurants have their menus online now, making it easier to decide before hand what you’ll get. If you can check the menu before you go to a restaurant, you’ll be able to see if they have anything on the healthier side; and if they don’t, then it’s a saved trip for you.
Order first. A lot of times I go to a restaurant already knowing what I want, but then I hear my friends order pizza, and chicken fingers, and burgers, and suddenly the salad I planned on getting doesn’t sound so good anymore. In order to silence the temptations of those around you, make sure to order your meal first. That way you don’t have time to change your mind.
Ask for salad dressing on the side. People see salad on a menu and automatically think it’s healthy. But more often than not, salads at restaurants are drenched in fatty dressing. To keep your greens light, ask for dressing on the side. This way you can decide for yourself how much or how little you want.
No fancy drinks. Don’t get crazy with special drinks; just order water. You’d be surprised at how many calories are in sodas, blended drinks, etc. Those extra calories and sugars don’t need to be added to your meal. So just keep it simple and drink water with your food.
Ask for it your way. If you see something on the menu that you like, but maybe want to tweak a couple things, ask to do it! Don’t be afraid to ask for grilled chicken instead of fried, or for a side of veggies instead of french fries. Be assertive when asking for changes to the menu; assume you can have the food made the way you like it.
Drink water throughout your meal. Most people only drink their water before and after their food comes. But if you drink water during your meal, it will slow you down and send a message to your brain that you are full; which helps prevent over-eating.
Ask to box half of your entree. Ask your waiter to box half of your entree before it’s brought out to the table. Restaurants have been known to serve two and three times the size of a recommended portion. Boxing half of your entree will ensure you’re getting a proper serving; and you’ll have leftovers!
Ask to triple the veggies. A lot of times vegetables are just an afterthought on the plate with a main entree. You can ask your waiter to double or triple the serving of your veggies, and most of the time it will be free of charge.
Like I mentioned earlier, not all restaurant food is bad for you. There are a lot of ways to turn an item that’s normally high in calories, carbs, sodium, fat, etc. into a more nutritional meal. Also, a lot of menus now have a section just for their healthier items, making your variety of options a lot wider. So don’t worry, eating out doesn’t have to ruin eating healthy.
SK’s Food Of The Day
Oranges are a super sweet way to get your daily vitamin requirement. Everyone knows they are loaded with Vitamin C, but many people don’t know that oranges are also filled with potassium, Vitamin B, and fiber. Orange you glad I told you!
Feeling inspired? Let me know what you think about this post in the comments section below!