Dining Out Done Right

Eating out, or as we like to call it "I dunno.  Where do you want to go?" is fun.  We all love to have yummy food that is prepared and cleaned up for us.  Part of what makes dining out so yummy is also part of what makes it so not healthy.  Wah, waah.

I used to eat out a lot more than I do now - most simply because I'm aware that I really don't know what is going into my food preparation.  You and I both know copious amounts of oil, salt, additives, and frying are involved.  However, you don't have to just accept these things as your only option.  Ronald himself isn't steering your car into the drive through.

The good news is that there are a lot more options out there now than the common fast food joints I grew up with in the 80's.  Your selection may depend on where you live, but don't let that be an excuse for not exploring.

Practical Tips for Dining Out

  1. Choose water.  ALWAYS.  I'm not going to give you any room on this one and you know damn well why.
  2. Go heavy on the veggies.
  3. Ask for modifications!  You are paying for this food.  Be polite, but don't be afraid to ask.  If they cannot accommodate you, they'll tell you, but you have no reason not to ask.
  4. Request no butter and/or no oil.  Often this is not an option if things are pre-cooked, but if you are at a sit-down place, you have better chances.
  5. Skip the cheese.  YES, I said skip. the. cheese.  Dairy is addictive, the ingredients are not good for you (and also happen to include rennet, which is a cow's stomach lining), and is the number one source for saturated fat
  6. Add extra veggies.  No, this is not a mistaken duplication on the mention of veggies.
  7. Go raw.
  8. Add healthy fats, like a sprinkle of nuts or a side of avocado.  
  9. Skip the refined flours, or go easy.  This can mean getting the bread on the side and eating half, asking for corn instead of flour tortillas, or choosing a whole grain (like brown rice or quinoa) instead of sandwich.
  10. Get to know your options.  A lot of restaurants now have their nutrition information available on-line.  Look these up in advance (even when you aren't planning on going out).  The more you learn about the options in your neighborhood, the better choices you can make on the fly.
  11. Find a healthy alternative to dressings/sauces and get it on the side.  Personally, I like mustard and hot sauce.  I know this is weird.  But there are other things out there besides straight up oil!  Try salsa, hummus, vinegar, hot sauce, citrus juice, Braggs Aminos, or just try skipping it.
  12. Know that you will not starve to death if you can't eat a giant meal while you are out.  Shocking, I know.

This How I Do It
(please sing to the tune of Montell Jordan)

Mediterranean Sammy:  Thinned regular bread (sad that their whole wheat is not vegan, boo), no cheese, add lettuce, tomato, and avocado.  Speak clearly.  The first guy thought I said "turkey", the second guy thought I said "chicken salad"...."med-i-ter-ran-ean"...

Mixed greens, half a scoop of cilantro rice, tempeh, extra grilled veggies, pico de gallo, cilantro, jalepenos, roasted garlic, creamy jalepeno dressing on the side.  Super customizable and they offer two different kinds of vegan beans, Spanish rice, avocado and other veg options.  Chipotle is very similar and they offer tofu instead of tempeh.
Sorry for the snapchat sticker...I'm in love with snapchat.  Ps. If you follow me on snapchat you will most definitely see all my meals out!

Whole Foods Salad Bar
Mixed greens, mini sweet peppers, tofu, tomatoes, cabbage, a sprinkle of peanuts with mustard and hot sauce.  I think you can feel pretty free here with all the raw veggies.  Just pay attention to all the cooked food and dressings.

Coconut Kale Enchiladas - Now, I don't know exactly what is in this, but I do know that every thing is raw, organic and whole food!   I highly recommend seeking out a raw restaurant at least once.  It was a great experience with some amazingly unique and delicious meals!

Far Off Mexico
A few months ago, I was lucky enough to enjoy a week away at an all inclusive resort.  The resort was amazing, but it also was extremely heavy on the not-so-awesome SAD (Standard American Diet).  Even so, I was able to pull off mostly healthy meals the whole week!  Below is a plate full of mixed greens, bell peppers, onions, pico de gallo, black beans, corn roasted potatoes, cucumbers, and tortilla chips.  I included this one because I think it's a great example of how you can be completely out of your element and still be able to make decent choices!

Regular pizza, regular sauce, red bell pepper, olives, spinach, artichoke, garlic, mushrooms, half a serving of vegan cheese, salt, and oregano.  They offer even more veggies, they will add more to your liking, and are super accommodating.  I know there are a few other pizza joints like this one, but Blaze is our fav.  Friday night pizza night wins!

It's time to branch out from the french fries, boob juice, and cow patties.  Consider this a challenge to try some new things and have it your (healthier) way.  The Burger King and the Backstreet Boys would be proud.

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