How to Eat Healthy Out!
I’d worked in the restaurant business for years when I started to make my transition from less to more healthy in diet and exercise. It was a tough road because most of my friends were also in the biz AND my partner and I, at the time, got together through that lifestyle, as well. The lifestyle of restaurant folks can be wild!
So you can imagine that when I started scheduling yoga, running, shopping at our local health mart and buying health magazines, I got a little bit of pushback from both sides.
Surprisingly though, not as much as I thought looking back now. Or at least it was totally worth it that it seems like nothing now!
There were some learning curves that I’ll share here. One of the biggest being learning how to eat out with my peers and my then-beloved.
I will say that things are changing rapidly in cities when it comes to healthy eating out options and now even meatless meat options are in many places now! Woot!
At the beginning of my healthier turn, I really only had the option to eat (fall apart) bean burgers (ewwww!!!) and highly modified salads - by taking out all of the cheese, dressing and/or nuts. But now even that has changed because it’s common knowledge that we NEED the good fats! So DON’T do low or no fat!! Keep the good fat so your body gets that good full feeling and you stay satiated longer so less you’re less apt to snack or eat more!
BUT if you feel lost when you go out to eat please rest easy after reading below!
Eat Healthy for Breakfast
If you go to a breakfast restaurant, there should be plenty of options for you to order or you can modify on your own here:
Scrambled eggs or egg whites
Soft boiled eggs
Omelet with veggies & salsa. Skip cheese if you’re sensitive.
Plain yogurt with granola and fruit - again stay with the fat and don’t do less than 1%!
Fruit bowls or berries bowls (balance it out with nuts or eggs so you have protein for that longer full feeling.)
Oatmeal. Dried fruit and nuts are great topping options! To sweeten, use a banana or light honey or maple syrup. Skip sweetening if you have diabetes.
Black coffee or tea
Stay away from these or at least limit:
Processed breakfast meats
Breads and fried potatoes
Heavy, creamy sauces
Pancakes, french toast, muffins, pastries (Your blood sugar will spike and you’ll be hungry within an hour or so.)
Say no to bread! Make sure you come to the restaurant NOT starving. Carry some raw nuts in your car or in your bag.
And instead of ordering fried appetizers, get a salad, ceviche, hummus or some dip with vegetables.
Order something fruit-filled like a sorbet. And desserts are always best shared if you do opt for something more naughty!
What to Order for a Main Dish
A fun way to balance out your plate is:
1/2 of your plate is veggies
1/6 of your plate is a lean protein
1/6 is a healthy carb
1/6 is a healthy fat option
Caveat - if you wanna lose weight:
1/2 a plate of veggies
1/4 a plate of lean protein
1/4 a plate of healthy fat.
Stay as whole foods as you can and say “no” to extra sauces!
Protein: Choose grilled, steamed, broiled or baked salmon, chicken, fish, or other type of meat
Veggies: Salad, root veggies, green veggies
Healthy carbs besides veggies:
Sweet potato or butternut squash
Rice, buckwheat, millet, farro, quinoa, amaranth or brown rice noodles
Healthy fats: nuts, avocado, fatty fish, and olive oil are all great healthy fats to add to your plate
Alcohol can create chaos for some as it lowers inhibitions making you possibly eat more and/or it might cause you choose unhealthy foods to eat.
The liver works extra hard to metabolize alcohol so if it’s busy with that, it won’t be able to work on the fat and thus possible weight gain incurs.
Of course moderation is best and if you do imbibe, the healthiest alcoholic drinks start with red wine. Next, vodka with soda water. And then other spirits like gin but just avoid spirits with soda cola’s or sugar water (syrup) to sweeten. Extra calories for literally minutes of enjoyment.
Of course don’t forget about water! Drink a glass between each beverage and don’t forget to eat your food.
Eating out can be totally stressful for people who have strict diets and are trying to be healthy but you can still have a good time without feeling bad if you do things in moderation.
There’s also joy that comes when you start to do research on restaurants because you become more discerning about where you eat and you also earn about different foods and recipes that you might not have if you just showed up!
I will say that the more you eat healthier, the more you want that feeling again. So there is a progression to eat out less and make more food at home.
Also, when you’re focused on your own healthy habits and noticing your great results, chances are people around will notice those results, too!