Eating out can be healthy – you just have to know how to alter the menu so you can get what it is you want! I have been doing this for years. And no, it does not have to be like the scene of When Harry Met Sally where the changes were so numerous, it was almost embarrassing being with Sally when she ordered!
1) Peruse the menu for what it is that jumps out at you and you really want.
2) Substitute an extra serving of green vegetables (preferably in that entree selection or from the side dishes) in place of the starch (potato, rice, pasta, etc). I usually choose broccoli. Even if I get broccoli, I always ask for extra!
3) Request all sauces to be on the side. If you can get order a dish to be made with olive oil, so much better than non-stick spray
a) If your salmon is to be in a butter sauce, ask for that sauce to be put on the side rather than on top of the salmon.
b) Ask for your dressing on the salad
to be put on the side rather than light on the dressing. “Light on the dressing” is still left to interpretation by the chef. And this will usually be twice as much as you will ever need!
c) Ask for sour cream or mayonnaise
to be put on the side rather than on a sandwich.
4) Avoid any thing deep fried.
a) Request to get dumplings steamed vs deep fried in a Chinese restaurant. Same with the spring rolls – ask for them in the cellophane wraps instead of being deep fried.
b) Request that the fried calamari be grilled in olive oil.
5) Choose your carbohydrates wisely! If you are eating out, you may want to snack on the bread of tortilla chips. If you choose those, that is your carbohydrate for the meal. If you choose an alcoholic drink, this too adds carbohydrates!
a) If you are in an Italian restaurant, if you choose the crusty bread with olive oil and herbs (who wouldn’t??), then don’t choose a side of pasta or a pasta dish as your entree! This will be way too many carbohydrates in your meal.
b) If you are in a Mexican joint, you may start with a margarita (pure sugar!), then chips with salsa. These are all carbohydrates! Then you may be tempted to do a tortilla wrapped entree.
This is where you choose either the chips, or the tortilla, rice or the beans! Not all of them. And yes you can still add broccoli to your entree!c) If you decide to have dessert, remember this is also a carb! So you want to at least split this dessert with as many others as possible. And also alter the entree to avoid the other starches if you intend on having dessert.
6) Avoid the “Clean Your Plate Club” if you can. Eat only until satisfied, not stuffed.
a) Split an entree with someone else, add a side of green vegetables and you will both be perfectly satisfied and not over-stuffed.
b) You may also choose to ask the server to pack half of your entree into a ‘to-go’ box before they bring the meal. This too will lessen the likelihood of over eating.
Eating out does not have to be unhealthy, nor does it have to be an excuse to eat as much as you can. I help clients regularly with making better choices at restaurants. Bring me your favorite menu, or invite me out to dine with you and I can show you how easy it really is to eat healthy while dining out! Eating out CAN be healthy if you know how to do it 🙂