Weight Loss Guide To Eating Out
Hidden sugars in dressings, heavy oils and deep fried prepared food, and more than necessary sodium added, it’s no wonder take out and eating at restaurants taste so good (and does damage to our waistlines).
If you are really dedicated to feeling your most energetic self and losing weight, you’ll do your best to meal prep and prepare your own food at home. Having said that, I know that’s not always an option.
With jammed packed schedules and the craving to be social and hit the patio with friends, eating out is like that big red easy button sometimes, we just can’t resist but to hit.
To stay on track keep this handy list of tips and tricks close by when you’re planning a meal out.
Tip: Try to schedule the times you eat out and keep track. Allow yourself to have 1 cheat meal a week and if it’s a super busy week 2 healthy take out options max.
Prelude: How badly do you want it? + Don’t give a F about what people think!
I know, I know, you don’t want to be ‘that’ person at a restaurant making a thousand adjustments to a menu item and having the waiter and your friends all rolling their eyes, but guess what soldier, this is just something you need to stop giving a f@uck about.
It is your body, your health and your goals. As long as you are polite, who cares if the waitress gives you a bit of attitude? That usually lasts no longer than a few minutes but your goals are something you’ve spent a lot of time working towards.
Our schedules don’t always allow us to be able to cook every meal of every day and we don’t want to completely cut ourselves out from every social outing that involves eating out. So Sassy Sally can deal with your adjustments to the menu and you can continue to stay on track. Just don’t be one of the douches who doesn’t tip, who does that anyway?
PART 1: The first step starts before you leave the house
If you know you are going out for a meal ahead of time, I recommend having a snack at home so you are in the right mind space at the restaurant. AKA- you are able to order with a clear mind not a starving stomach.
You may even be able to get away with ordering a small appetizer and feel satiated = money saver= BONUS
If you know where you are going ahead of time take a look at the restaurants menu online if possible. Decide what you are going to order before going there and becoming faced with temptation . This way you can execute that healthy order like a pro!
Make sure you are hydrated before any meal! We often have a difficult time telling the difference between thirst and hunger so get that water down the hatch! If you want to step your hoity-toity game up, ask the waiter for a warm lemon water to start.
Congrats you’ve set the stage and prepared the waitress for your adjusted menu item because your ‘one of those customers’ AND you get to warm up that digestive system! Double BONUS!
Part 2: Ordering
What to stay away from
Let’s start with the obvious….
I don’t believe I have to point out the obvious but just to get it out of the way…menu items that are deep fried, breaded or swimming in cream sauce are a NO NO.
They will set you way back and your calorie intake through the roof. Disable the gluten bombs by pushing the bread basket to the other side of the table and don’t look back.
Watch out for those deceitful salads with dried fruit, cheese, and high salt, high sugar dressings even rice bowls with devious ‘spicy yogurt’ sauces are not as healthy as they appear.
Same goes with appetizers, if not chosen correctly these small dishes dense in sugar, salt, fat and other ingredients will have you writing farewell letters to you’re skinny jeans.
How is your food being prepared?
-Ask for your dish to be grilled, baked, steamed, broiled, poached, stir-fried or roasted instead of fried, breaded, or pan-friend.
Does your server have a healthy go to choice off the menu?
Many of my friends worked as servers in various restaurants and they all knew how to navigate through the menu. They all had industry secrets on how to make healthy swaps to ensure their post or pre shift meal was clean and left them feeling light and energized.
Feel free to ask your server what they recommend or what their personal choice is for a healthy meal or tips on making clean swaps and substitutes to the menu.
Restaurants tend to be generous on the portions and when that order arrives, conversations flowing, we can easily over do it. Opt for ordering 2 appetizers, sharing your entree with a friend or asking the waiter to pack the rest of your meal up and the first signal of fullness.
Appetizers: Greater starter options
-Fresh greens or side salad
Order with a dressing of olive oil, balsamic & lemon on the side. The enzymes in raw veggies are perfect for kick starting the digestive system.
The closest items to ‘real’ food you can get, the better so opt for salads that have the most vegetables without ‘artesian’ baked croutons or straight from the deep fryer tempura bits.
Your best bets are soups with clear vegetable based broths. Ask if there is any dairy in them and skip the white bread that tends to accompany.
If this joint sells chicken wings or stir frys, they’re most likely to have celery sticks. A satisfying crunch and packed with enzymes make for a great starter. If it’s a Mediterranean restaurant ask for a side of hummus, which offers protein and fibre!
– Opt for more veggies when possible- Veggies are filling, filled with fibre, vitamins and nutrients all at a low calorie cost. Order two sides of veggies on a bed of greens or if you’ve had a solid workout day, ask for a baked potato or yam sans sour cream, cheese, and butter (cue eye roll, I know! But we’re going for the long term game here).
Burger joint: Request your hamburger come in a lettuce wrap or on a bed of greens.
Pasta: Opt for a red sauce or to have your noodles lightly tossed in olive oil with a side of veggies.
Sushi: See if they offer brown/black or purple rice with fresh vegetables and a side rice, if it’s been an active day, papaya salad, Chana Masala, Dal or vegetable skewers.
Pizza: There’s really no getting around this one- Try to save your pizza craving for a night when you can make it at home or start with a big salad and stick with 1 slice.
Thai/Indian: Small vegetable based curries (coconut milk as base) with small side of rice, if it’s been an active day, papaya salad, Chana Masala, Dal or vegetable skewers.
Greek: Greek salad no feta, vegetable skewers, small side of humous.
I don’t need to tell you how dessert takes down your weight loss mission one small dish at a time, you know that but if there’s a long john doughnut to your head and you absolutely must partake then go for these less sinful sins
-A piece of fruit
Sounds lame but sometimes the sweetness a piece of fruit has to offer is all we really needed to rid that craving. Give it a try at least before writing it off!
-A piece of dark chocolate
The restaurant may not have this on hand so come prepared with one of those single packets or organic dark chocolate available at grocery stores.
-Tea with non dairy milk
Travelling I can’t believe how many restaurants offer mint, ginger, or other herbal teas! An incredibly soothing way to end a meal. Add a little non dairy milk and a drop of stevia (I carry mine in my purse) for a touch of sweetness.
What to look out for:
Diary the not so silent killer- Your best bet, just say no cheese please! Cheese sauces, cheese in salads, sour cream, mayonnaise and other dairy based sauces and add ons, are all traps that will affect your weight loss goals.
Dairy is acidic, difficult to digest and lactose contains sugar which your going to try to avoid as much as possible when dropping the pounds.
For you cheese lovers this will take some getting used to but do you know what you don’t have to get used to? The compliments from friends, family and colleges about how good you’re looking these days!
Ahhh breakfast, the meal that is responsible for setting the ton for the rest of the day.
But ohhh don’t those pancakes and waffles covered in ‘fruit’ and cream look amazing? That thick hollandaise covering that lethal muffin brought to us by the English sounds divine.
Sh!t like this will make a Soup Sandwich* out of your diet so wipe that drool from your face and stick that tongue back in your mouth. Stay focused because nothing tastes as good as being fit and healthy feels and that’s for god damn sure.
* Soup Sandwich – Used to describe an individual, object, situation, or mission that has gone horribly wrong. The thrust of the term’s meaning derives from the fact that it is incredibly difficult, some would say impossible, to make a sandwich out of soup.
-Before hitting that cup of joe, sip on some lemon water to get those digestive juices flowing
-Your plate should have a variety of color offering different vitamins and nutrients unlike the common American breakfast that consists of 50 shades of baje
– Go for a veggie filled omelets and apply the same rules as the main event, ask for half to be packed up before it hits the table
This rule is especially great for mornings when we think we are so starving we could down the whole right side of the menu but our stomachs can only handle or need a smaller amount
-Skip out on the home fries and white bread toast (I know, the best part of breakfast! but who said looking amazing was easy?) Order a side salad, grilled tomatoes or fruit instead
-Oatmeal is a great filling option just skip out on the brown sugar, syrups, large amount of nuts and dried fruit that tends to hang out on the top. Be sure to ask what it is cooked in.
-Avocado toast side of grilled veggies or greens
-Oatmeal with fresh fruit and cinnamon
-Steamed veggies side of avocado
- Preparation- Drink lots of water, have a pre meal snack, know before you go.
- Ask questions- How is the food prepared? What are healthy swaps I can make? Am I better off sharing or ordering 2 light appetizers?
- Opt for baked, steamed and fresh veggies when you can.
- Fresh fruit, a piece of dark chocolate and tea go a long way when satisfying a sudden sweet tooth craving.
- Listen to your body. When you feel that first sign of satiety push the plate away. Overeating will hinder your progress and leave you feeling lethargic. Take pride in getting your food packaged up.
- Keep your eye on the big picture. Every small step in your every decision is one step closer to reaching your goals.
- Don’t allow anyone else’s opinion, comments, snarks, snarls or random noise they release, have any effect on what you’re trying to achieve. Your body thanks you and so does every set of eyes that’s been staring at you from the other tables.
Looking for some guidance when it comes to knowing what to eat when?