Healthy Strategies for Eating Out
We all love to eat out occasionally. It’s fun, social, great to try new things, and best of all . . . no dishes!!
Although, we recommend meal prepping and cooking at home when possible, here are some great strategies to eat healthy when you do go out for a bite.
1. NEVER ARRIVE STARVING
Too often I forget to eat, or don’t plan a snack because I think I’ll just eat at the restaurant. This situation happened today. I didn’t realize how hungry I was until we sat down; my blood sugar dropped and I felt weak and shaky. The time you actually eat at a restaurant is unpredictable. You might have to wait to be seated, the server might take awhile before they take your order and who knows how long the kitchen will take to prepare it. A smart strategy is to eat a snack with health protein or fat before you head to the restaurant. You will enjoy the conversation before dinner so much more and you will make better decisions on choosing your meal.
2. SKIP THE BREAD
I’m not sure why restaurants give free bread… it doesn’t make sense to fill your customer up on free food? And it definitely is not a good idea for us to consume. White, refined, buttery, blood-sugar spiking bread is not a great choice! Just say no. Ask for a starter salad instead. However, watch out for the dressing. The typical Caesar and Thousand Island dressing is NOT on our strategies for health. Also, watch out for mayonnaise, canola oil and other unhealthy bases. Dressings made with olive oil and apple cider vinegar are a much better choice.
3. FOCUS ON NUTRIENT DENSE, WHOLE FOODS
Personally, I don’t focus much on calories, fat or following a specific diet. My goal is to maximize the amount of nutrients I can receive from a meal (and it should taste good too). If you look for food in their whole form and avoid anything processed, you are more likely to get nutrients. Another tip is to read between the lines. Any menu description that uses the words creamy, breaded, crisp, sauced, or stuffed is likely loaded with hidden trans or saturated fats. For example, choose a grilled chicken over a creamy chicken cordon-bleu or a processed chicken nugget.
4. BE A PICKY CUSTOMER
Customize your order by asking for substitutions. If you have an allergy you would need to swap something out. Do the same for health reasons. I have to watch my blood sugars, so I often sub out the majority of grains (rice, potatoes, bread) for extra salad. Sometimes I’ll even pay for more of something healthy.
5. CONSIDER YOUR DRINK
Water is your best friend! Remember that =) Despite popular claims, juice is not healthy. It is loaded with sugar and void of the fiber and nutrients from the actual fruit. I don’t think I even need to mention sodas, soft drinks and fancy alcoholic drinks do I? Add a lemon and drink your water or herbal tea and know you are hydrating your cells optimally.
6. BE MINDFUL OF YOUR FOOD
Instead of scarfing your food down before you can even taste it, eat slowly and thoughtfully. Enjoy the people and conversations around you. Take time to savour the aromas and flavours of each bite. Enjoy your meal.
Which restaurants do you like to eat out at? Which ones do you find offers the most healthy options? Post in the comments below