One of the most common questions I get from clients is how to make good nutritional decisions when dining at a restaurant. The truth is that it is now easier than ever to stay on track without feeling deprived. Restaurants have menus and nutrition online and in house. It’s more common place to cater to healthier choices and not frowned upon to make substitutions. With that in mind, here are five tips to help you stay on track without feeling deprived the next time you are dining out!
1️⃣ Plan ahead. First and foremost, make sure that your scope out the menu online and do your best to decide in advance what you will order. That way, if you’re tracking, you can go ahead and build your day around it, especially if you plan to splurge! If you plan to stay on track, deciding in advance will keep you from the dreaded “hmmm… What sounds good?!” rabbit trail that never ends in a good choice! Make a decision in advance and stick to it!
2️⃣ Make substitutions when they are available. Add grilled veggies or the salad bar instead of fries to your meal. The worst case scenario you may have to pay an up-charge, but in my opinion, it is worth it.
3️⃣ Stick to the basics. For the most part, when I dine out, I get one of two things. Either a salad with dressing in the side (occasionally I will bring my own if they don’t have one I like) and an extra order of some type of protein, or a lean protein and grilled veggies. If you have a basic outline of what you usually get, you can pretty much accommodate that anywhere. I also love using lemon juice and seasonings to add flavor to things.
4️⃣ Splurge, but in a different way. Make the splurge about getting something you would not normally cook at home. Usually when I go somewhere to eat, I will order a pricier piece of protein than I would normally cook at home. Either a lean steak, seafood (grilled shrimp or raw oysters), or even a build-my-own meal that might cost a little extra. My mindset is that that is my special “treat.”
5️⃣ Custom order items. Most restaurants will make accommodations if you ask. To help with not feeling awkward about it, remember that it is no different than asking to accommodate a food allergy! Most places are used to it by now. If you want your steamed veggies or protein to be cooked in less oil or butter for example, just ask! Want the grilled fish but not the creamy sauce on top, again just ask! Another one of my favorite ways to make a full meal from what is available is to order a healthy appetizer and then add on veggies for a side. Then I just ask them to bring it out during the main course rather than separately.
1/ Which one of these sounds most helpful?
2/ What is your best tip for staying on track when you dine out? Share in the comments👇🏼so we can all benefit from the tips!
Does this type of eating sound good to you, but you find yourself confused on where to start? Book a call with me here and let’s chat it out!
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