Thursday, August 20, 2015

Healthy Eating at Restaurants

Happy Thursday!


Raise your hand if you feel like this girl!

How did they find a gif of me doing my Vacation Dance!?

I wanted to write this post about healthy eating in restaurants.  I'm not a dietitian, but I do have some helpful tips that I've come to follow that have really helped me keep healthy and focused when dining out.

1.)  Preview the menu

I cannot tell you how much this has helped me.  I look up all of my options and then research which options are the healthiest.  Sometimes if I'm torn between a few options I need the days to think about the decisions.  Previewing the menu allows you to decided what you want in a no pressure zone.  Also, it let's you make the decision on your own without the influences of other friends.

Also, if you're trying to *start* eating healthier, you might need a few days to psych yourself up about your new healthy options.  Trust me, it gets easier.  You're talking to a bread+chicken parm+dessert +coke with no ice convert.

MAJOR SNAPS to Zach for sending me the NOLA email with all of the restaurants earmarked and linked in an Excel doc so I can easily peruse and pick through them!

2.)  Pick the restaurant

If your friend group is anything like mine you are always having this conversation:

"Do you wanna grab dinner?"
"Where do you want to go?"
"I don't care.  Where do you want to go?"
"I don't care.  Where do you want to go?"

This endless circle usually lasts about 10 minutes before deciding on an old standby-thank you Seasons 52 for always making life easier!  I usually try to find great new to us restaurant either in Philly or locally.

If you're trying to eat healthier, it's best to pick the restaurant so you have control over the menu and other additives.

3.) Look up healthy places around you online

Yelp and Google are always your best bets.  I like to read the reviews, see the pictures, and then make my decision.

3.)  Check to see if desserts are house made or brought in.

One of the sugar rules I follow is, If it's made with love you can eat it.  I don't want to waste my calories on Chips Ahoy, BUT I do want to eat a homemade cupcake.  Those are worth the calorie splurge.  Find out if the desserts are made in house or if they're frozen/reheated/brought in junk.

4.)  Ask for half the meal to be wrapped up prior to arriving at the table

I do this all the time.  Restaurant portions are huge and often times are double or even triple the portion size of a usual meal.  If the restaurant won't do it for you because it will mess with presentation, ask that a wrap up box be brought to your table immediately.

5.)  Split dessert

Whenever my friends or family go out to dinner we always ask for 1 dessert and 4 forks.  Usually restaurant desserts are about 2,000 calories and split between 4 people that's a much more manageable (for a cheat dessert) than 2,000.

6.)  Ask for half the dessert to be wrapped up

If you are at a place where dessert runs rampant and you need that slice of cake all for yourself (we've all been there…trust me!) just ask for half to be wrapped up.  I do this at The Cheesecake Factory ALL.THE.TIME!  Sometimes they give you the side eye, but usually they understand.

7.)  Order first

It has been proven that whoever orders first sets the tone for the rest of the table.  I always order first when we go out.

8.)  Input your meal before you go to the restaurant

A lot of times I will input my meal into the Myfitnesspal app on my phone before I even head out for the day so I can keep my self in check.  This helps me keep on track once I'm at the restaurant and scanning that menu.

9.)  Ask them to keep the bread away

It saves you a bunch of calories and keeps the mindless munchies away.  If I end up eating bread out it's usually because I'm bored, not because I really want it.

10.)  Pick either a drink/bread/dessert

I usually try to pick 2 out of 3 treats at a dinner MAX.  Only if it's at a specialty place--not like Panera or some place I frequent.  I pick the big 3:  Bread, Alcohol, Dessert.

I will pick 2/3 of those treats at the most.  I'm not a huge bread girl, so usually I'll pick dessert and maybe a drink.

Giving yourself options is a great way to not feel limited when eating out.

12.)  Don't be afraid to ask for your own "meal"

I create my own meals all the time.  Usually at Maggiano's I'll create my own meal--a piece of grilled chicken, marinara on the side and grilled asparagus with no butter.

Delicious and easy and not too difficult for the chef.  Usually I preface this kind of request with, "I know I'm weird, but can I have……….."

What are your tricks/tips for eating out but staying healthy?

Enjoy your day,


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