One of my favorite things to do is to eat out at a restaurant. I love not having to worry about what I’m going to cook so that the whole family enjoys it or bother with the dishes. But the problem with eating out at restaurants are the added calories and added expense! Today I’m talking about all the little things you can do to stay healthy while eating at a restaurant. Once you’ve finished reading this guide on how to still eat healthy at a restaurant, you’ll never have to worry about those extra calories again!
Now let’s get to the mater guide to eating healthy at a restaurant.
Eating out at a restaurant doesn’t need to derail your health goals. In fact, I’ve seen winning professional fitness competitors eat out during prep. If they can do it, you can definitely do it too! Just be mindful, if you wouldn’t eat it at home on a diet, don’t eat it at a restaurant.
Start with the basics
Pick a good restaurant:
Yes, you can eat healthy just about anywhere but why not start off on the right foot and pick a semi-healthy restaurant. Some of my favorite restaurants to eat out at are restaurants with big menus; BJ’s Brewhouse, Lazy Dog Cafe, etc. Eating healthy is my choice but not everyone is on that same program (cough coughdad, I’m talking to you!)
I like to diet with wine in mind. Instead of cutting out wine, I cut out extra carbs and dessert. Eating healthy is all about balance, not restriction. Along with my wine, I always order a water with lemon and chug a full glass before I start eating. Most of the time when we’re craving a snack, our bodies are just dehydrated. Chugging a glass of water calms your stomach, so you aren’t ravenous and make bad ordering decisions.
Steer clear of the freebies:
Meaning resist the temptation to fill your tummy full of bread or chips. If you chugged that glass of water like I suggest, you won’t really want the freebies anyways.
When I eat out, I order a salad with a grilled protein like chicken, shrimp, or salmon. I ask them to hold the cheese and put the dressing on the side. If none of the salads look good, I look for a grilled chicken dish. Back before I was a blogger, I used to be a server. Which taught me that if you see an item on the menu, you can pretty much mix and match whatever meal you want. It’s a little annoying to fully create your own meal not on the menu but if you politely tell the server what your goals are, they won’t mind.
Share a main dish:
Restaurant portions are outrageously huge. Even if you shared an entrée, you’re getting a normal portion.
Say no to buns:
There’s really nothing wrong with ordering a burger at a restaurant if you do it right. Ask for the burger protein style (with lettuce instead of the bun) and sauce on the side. You can also ask if they have leaner patties like turkey or bison.
Halt the salt:
The goal for a restaurant is to cook tasty food, not healthy food. Most restaurants add a ton of salt, oil, and butter to amplify the flavor. If you ask to hold the extra salt, you’ll feel a lot less bloated the next day.
Drink natural alcohol:
One of the main reasons I love wine so much is because it’s natural and has natural ingredients my body can metabolize. Mixed drinks are full of artificial sugars and sweeteners and beer is just too carby.
The concept of this post was initially intended for my honeymoon to San Francisco. But as you can see from my San Francisco recap post, I did not eat healthy on vacation at all! Luckily I spend a lot of time staying active with my family and can burn it all off when I got home
Do you like to eat out at restaurants? What is your favorite restaurant to eat at?