It can be difficult eating out all the time when trying to eat clean. We all need a social life, so eating out is most likely the #1 thing people do when spending time together. It’s impossible to eat 100% clean and if you try, you might not be able to keep it up for long. It’s very restrictive, so allowing treats once in a while is essential to satisfy cravings. Using the 80/20 rule is also helpful! 80% clean eating & healthy nutrient dense foods, 20% indulgences. This allows you to go out socially, enjoy a tasty meal & makes clean-living doable in the long run.
I believe that moderation, balance, variety, adequacy, nutrition density & calorie control are what makes a healthy diet! The definition of diet are the foods & drinks a person normally consumes, not only over a short period of time.
However, here I’m going to a share a little on how to make healthy choices when you go out to eat at a restaurant. Yes, it may not be exactly like a home cooked meal but you can still make changes that will make the meal healthier 🙂
1. Toast: Many brunch places have plain toast w/ a side of fruit. You can spread on some avocado instead of that butter they give you. Add a couple drizzles of honey on top as well if they have it available.
2. Omelettes: Omelettes are also a great idea for breakfast since they’re a good source of protein. Usually there’s a veggie omelette on the menu. Swap to egg whites if you want to lower the cholesterol & fat intake. Omelettes usually come with a side of fruit & toast. Get the whole wheat toast.
3. Oatmeal: It’s usually topped with fruit and granola, which seems to be a popular combination nowadays. Oatmeal contains fiber which will keep you full longer until lunchtime comes around. If there’s any topping you don’t like, most places will be willing to put it on the side for you.
4. Drinks: Some great drinks for breakfast would be tea, coffee, low fat milk or freshly squeezed orange juice. There are some juices that contain lots of sugar, so make sure it’s freshly squeezed with no sugar added! If you want to sweeten your tea, try getting honey. For the coffee, ask for almond milk, coconut milk or lower sugar creamers if they have any.
1. Sandwiches: Turkey Avocado Sandwiches are my favorite! It’s always served with mayo or aioli though, so you can take that out or ask for it on the side. To me, the avocado already gives me enough of a creamy saucy texture so I usually take out the sauce or spreads. Mediterranean sandwiches with hummus are also another one of my favorites. It’s usually packed with many different kinds of veggies, so I love that! I also always choose wheat bread. Sandwiches come with a side, usually a salad or fries. Get the salad!
2. Salads: My number #1 rule for salads is, ask for dressing on the side. It’s so common nowadays to ask for that because people like to control how much goes in. Some people like more, some people like less. Opt out toppings you don’t like or sub them for alternatives because restaurants are always willing to accommodate!
3. Appetizers: Spring rolls at Vietnamese cuisine, edamame at Japanese cuisines, etc. Choose lower calorie, non-fried foods because this is an appetizer. We know the french fries, onion rings & fried things are very very tempting.
4. Protein: Most places always have chicken breast or turkey as a source of protein. Choose white chicken or chicken breast if they have the option. Ask for the skin off or to be cooked with less oil if it’s a stir fry.
Tips: You can always request to cook with less oil, less salt or no MSG. I’ve done that and it’s usually not weird! Haha, apparently there are always several people that request for that everyday. My dad works in a restaurant and he said it’s getting more common.
1. Smoothies: All fruit smoothies! Ask for no added sugars or condensed milk.
2. Acai Bowls: Yum yum yum! So many places offer this now. However, it is pretty filling and high in calories so you should share with someone. It can be a meal replacement, usually a breakfast or lunch! I love how it’s filled with healthy fats & topped with fruits. Also, you can make it packed with protein when you order one with hemp, peanut butter & protein powder :’)
3. Fruit Bowls: Seasonal Fruit Bowls are a great snack filled with natural sugars & fiber keeping you full in between meals.
4. Drinks: Iced Coffee & Unsweetened Green Tea are great choices! Those fraps from Starbucks are loaded with syrups & sugars that spike your blood sugar making you hungry quickly. At Jamba, go for the freshly squeezed juices, and not the smoothies that contain sorbet or added juices. One regular Jamba smoothie can contain around 70-100 grams of sugar.
Sample of 2 of my meals:
1. Kabuki Japanese Restaurant
-Edamame as an appetizer
-White meat chicken, teriyaki sauce on side
You STILL can make healthy choices when eating out! Remember moderation & enjoy your meal out with friends. You can choose those order of fries or pizza every once in a while because who doesn’t want it? 🙂