How to eat healthy when eating out at restaurants…. what to order for each meal, healthy dessert options and what alcoholic drinks are best!
Want to eat healthy, but still have a social life?
I vividly remember when I was just starting my healthy eating journey. I avoided going out to eat because I didn’t think I’d be able to find anything on restaurant menus that would fit into my clean eating lifestyle.
So sad, right?
If I did decide to go out I would order the plainest meal like a salad (but without the cheese, nuts, avocado and dressing) because I thought that was my only option and I feared fat. <– I’m so glad that myth has been busted. The world is healthier for it and food tastes SO MUCH BETTER!
If you’re feeling the same way… kind of lost when you go out to restaurants, have no fear! I’m share my tips for healthy eating at restaurants and breaking down what to order (and what to steer clear of) at a variety of restaurants today.
Whether it’s me going out or others asking for advice when eating out, I have some general practices I follow. The cliff notes to eating out, if you will!
Depending on what type of breakfast restaurant you’re going to, there will be a wide variety of options. Here are some items to look for on the menu:
There are certain foods I recommend limiting. If going out is a rare occasion and you want to treat yourself to one of these items, that’s totally okay! Another trick I have is to order a side or small option to split with the table – that way you still get to taste these items, but aren’t basing your entire meal off them. If you regularly go out for breakfast, limit the following items:
There are creative ways to build a super healthy main dish when you go out to eat! Try to balance out your plate so 1/2 of your plate is veggies and then 1/6 of your plate is a lean protein, 1/6 is a healthy carb and 1/6 is a healthy fat option. If you’re trying to lose weight, stick to 1/2 a plate of veggies, 1/4 a plate of lean protein and 1/4 a plate of healthy fat. Skip the extra sauces and keep your meals as fresh as possible!
Just say no to the bread basket! Whenever we eat out, I always try not to arrive at the restaurant starving. It’s much more tempting to go for the bread or unhealthy appetizers when I would gladly eat anything in sight. Instead of ordering fried appetizers, opt for a salad, ceviche, a dip with veggies or another lighter/healthier choice!
If you’re dying for dessert, opt for a fruit-based option like sorbet or apple crisp. Similarly to sweet breakfast options, when I’m craving a dessert I order one for the table and take 2-3 bites instead of eating the whole thing!
Alcohol can be a slippery slope for some people. It lowers inhibitions and may cause you to eat more or choose foods that may not serve your body. Remember, the liver has to work overtime to metabolize alcohol. If the liver is too busy metabolizing alcohol, it won’t be able to burn fat! Having said that, I understand that sometimes you want a drink to accompany your dinner or to celebrate a special occasion – that’s totally normal!
Your #1 option is red wine. Red wine is one of your healthier options due to its antioxidants (polyphenols, flavonoids, and resveratrol).
If you prefer liquor my go-to to vodka with soda water with lime or grapefruit juice. I love palomas so I’ll often ask for a no-sugar added paloma. If you LOVE drinks like moscow mules, mojitos or margaritas, you can always order them without the simple syrup to cut back on the sugar and calories.
And my biggest tip — don’t forget about that water! Drink a glass of water between every alcoholic drink to sty hydrated. Trust me, you’ll feel so much better the next day.
I know eating out can be stressful for people following strict diets or trying to eat healthier but I hope this guide helps give you a starting point! My number one tip is to do your best and don’t stress too much. It’s all about balance and if you’re only eating out every once in a while it shouldn’t affect your health and fitness goals.