How to Eat Healthy at a Restaurant

“My confidence grows when I step outside of my comfort zone”

  I had an awesome talk with a woman the other day about healthy eating and this question came up, “how about when I am out to eat?” I think this is something that tons of people struggle with in the beginning of their journey because it can be intimidating looking at the all the “good” food on the menu and seeing what you have to choose from. Stick with your goals. You are obviously here because you have goals, I’m assuming, so I am going to help guide you.

I will always stress the importance of meal prepping. I even have an amazing offer from Amazon for 15 reusable containers, plus 5 sauce cups, for just $16!

Just click the picture above and browse these and tons of other super affordable containers! 

But what about times when you can’t? There’s a business meeting, or a family birthday dinner, or you have friends and family in town. I understand! I am going to break down how you should handle the situation.

Appetizer:  

I would suggest choosing a side salad or even a bowl of soup. If you order a salad, be sure to start asking for the dressing on the side. That way you can control how much is added. I know when my boyfriends family goes out to dinner, they order a platter of 3 or 4 different appetizers for us all to choose from and I avoid the fried options like Potato Skins or Cheese Fries. I would rather have a buffalo chicken wing as long as its grilled or smoked and not fried. Also try to avoid dipping everything you eat in Ranch. Those calories from fat add up as well because ranch dressing is made up primarily of dairy products (*I will explain my dislike for all things dairy in the very near future*).

If I really want an appetizer I will try and share something with someone like a shrimp or crab cake appetizer. And get them to eat most of it. LOL. Hey don’t judge me, I’m trying to save my calories for dessert!!

Stay away from the complimentary Evil Bread. Stay Away. It is a trap. Take a bite and ask the waiter to remove the tray from your table. I do it all the time. Or I will ask them not to bring it at all. Its to tempting to eat one and then 3 pieces later you’re feeling miserable and beating yourself up.

My boyfriend, Jamil, loves going to Cheddar’s because they have these super flaky, honey butter croissants. Before we know is the basket they brought is gone and he’s ordering 6 more to take home. UM HELL NO!!! So to avoid all of this, simply ask the waiter to not bring it. And don’t look when they bring it to the table beside you. Even though they are so delicious LOL.

Now for the Entree.  What you really came here for. You can really blow it by choosing the wrong things. Entrees with lots of creams or sauces can shoot your balance to 1500 calories OR MORE. Just for one meal people. Are you really willing to do that? Maybe you are. Orr you can hit a home run by choosing the right things. The play is on you. If you are willing to go extra hard tomorrow in the gym then maybe you can afford to splurge a little here. My problem about splurging at dinner is that I feel so guilty afterwards, that it ends up not even being worth it. Yeah it tasted good for those 15 minutes you eat it. But am I really wanting to feel so down on myself afterwards? My answer is no.

I choose to indulge after my dinner. As far as the entree goes, I recommend trying to pick the healthiest option there. Most restaurants now have a section like “lighter fare” or “healthy options”. Stick with this if you are trying to lose weight. It may seem like you are missing out but trust me it will be worth it in the long run.  You can even get some pastas that aren’t loaded with empty calories on this lighter menu.

I pretty much feel the same way about Desserts as I do entrees. This can make or break your whole day. I personally have a weakness for sweets though so this is mainly where I will indulge. Once a week only.

Be mindful that cheesecakes and most desserts are loaded with sugar and can add up to be 700 or 900 calories per slice!! So if that’s what you are wanting to do I recommend drinking water, having a light but filling dinner, and having your dessert. And plan to go hard tomorrow at the gym or on the track.

Let’s talk Cocktails, shall we? I love a good cocktail every now and again. I really do. You have to watch them though. They are usually loaddded with sugary mixers and can also add up to be lots of calories. Some of my tricks are to stick with a couple glasses of champagne and I’m good. Or have a Vodka Tonic or Gin and Club Soda.

That way you get your kick. When you start getting into those Strawberry Daquiri’s (easily 600 calories for 1 drink!) or Sex on the Beaches (775 calories) that’s where you can ruin your intake. And again, sugar sits around your belly and no one wants that. Especially if you are trying to enjoy a night out with friends and family and want to indulge. Choose wisely.  I even sometimes have vodka and water. Enjoy safely!

Do’s and Dont’s of Eating Out

  • Don’t do Buffets. Just avoid the temptation.
  • Don’t eat more than one piece of the free bread.
  • Don’t order the extras like Bacon and Cheddar Cheese
  • Don’t order the creamy dressings like Ranch and Caesar
  • Don’t order sugary drinks like Sweet Tea and Flavored Lemonades
  • Do load up on Veggies and Vinaigrettes
  • Do order grilled or smoked
  • Do have an idea of what you want to eat before you go
  • Do try to be the first to order, that way you won’t hear tempting options
  • Do feel free to get it your way. If you don’t want something on your plate, even if it traditionally comes with the meal, ask the waiter to leave it off. Order what you want, your way.

ENJOY AND KNOW THAT IT GETS EASIER OVER TIME, BELIEVE ME! 

xoxoxoxoxox-erika