How to Eat Healthy at Restaurants
Want to eat healthy, but still have a social life? Fear no more! Here's some helpful tips on how to eat healthy while at a restaurant.
While beginning a health journey can feel as if you are limited on basically everything, it's actually far from the truth! Many people avoid going to a restaurant because they think there is nothing there for them that will fit their healthier eating lifestyle.
I totally get it. For me, I always thought I had to order the plainest thing on the menu. A salad with just lettuce. If you are feeling the same way...lost when going to eat at a restaurant, I'm here! I'd like to share with you tips for healthy eating and break down what to eat and what to steer clear from. No matter where you go!
Tips on How to Eat Healthy at a Restaurant:
1. Avoid alcohol- Obviously the occasional drink or two is okay. Alcohol adds empty calories as well as lowering our inhibitions.
2. Skip bread & chips- We tend to snack too much on these items that we get full before the main course! It's tempting, but if we are trying to take in nutrient rich foods, these aren't one of them.
3. Avoid the word "creamy" or "fried"- These words typically mean, higher (not so healthy) fats, trans fats, higher sodium, and extra calories.
4. Skip sugary drinks & opt for water (it's budget friendly too)- Again, empty calories that can be used towards filling up on foods that will allow you to feel more satisfied.
We are blessed with a variety of restaurants, which offer various options when it comes to eating. Below are tips I've put together for each meal.
Healthy Eating at Breakfast Restaurants:
+ Scrambled Eggs or Eggwhites
+ Omelettes with veggies (light on the cheese/opt for mozzarella, goat, or feta)
+ Boiled Eggs
+ Yogurt with fruit and granola
+ Oatmeal with fruit, nuts, pure maple syrup, or honey
+ Sub fruit for a side option
+ Coffee with raw honey or pure maple syrup instead of table sugar
It's okay to splurge every once in a while! I know I love the occasional french toast or pancake option. I recommend splitting it with someone. Also, if you decide to splurge on a sweet item, go for a whole grain option or sauce on the side. When it comes to sugary foods, our insulin levels can spike up causing our blood sugar to go haywire, which means hungry again in an hour and craving more sugar.
Healthy Eating for Lunch & Dinner
When it comes to a main course, whether it be for lunch or dinner, my rule of thumb is to incorporate balance. By going by this rule of thumb, it makes ordering more simple.
Protein: 12% of your plate
Fruits & Vegetables : 33%
If you are trying to lose weight, make half your plate veggies and the remaining a protein and healthy fat.
Good sources of protein include lean meats such as chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, beans, and nuts. Poultry is low in saturated fat, high quality fish contains brain and heart boosting omega 3's, and beans and nuts are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
+ steamed, grilled, baked, or broiled
The percentage of high quality carbohydrates in our diet makes up for the largest fuel for energy. It is important to understand that we incorporate sources such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. By limiting sugary, refined foods, we are receiving the proper nutrients that will level our blood sugar. Blood sugar levels that are leveled mean we are satisfied longer and can maintain energy levels. Also, we can prevent and/or stabilize diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and blood pressure staying away from sugary, processed foods.
+ veggies, salad, rice, quinoa, farro, brown rice pasta, sweet potatoes
Fat for some people can be confusing. We are told to take in low fat foods and beware of fat in our diet. The thing is, it's the quality of fats that are important. By staying away from trans fats and limiting saturated fats, we are able to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Olive, avocado, coconut, canola, and peanut oils are considered healthier fats. Also, nuts, seeds, avocado, and fatty fish contain a good source of healthy fats. The intake of
+ nuts, avocado, fatty fish (salmon, cod, tuna), olive oil
Sometimes by the time we get to a restaurant, we are so hungry that we choose whatever seems quick. If you are in need of a little something before your main course, go for a fresher option. For example, a ceviche, salad, or a dip with veggies instead of chips or bread.
If you are like me, something sweet after a meal is a must. My grandpa always said, he had an extra spot in his belly just for dessert. I think that has stuck with me! For those with a sweet tooth, go for something fruit based. For example, a sorbet. Another option, order something to split with someone else and really savor the few bites.
Hey y'all! I'm Alexa, a Nutrition Counselor and Holistic Health Coach. Whether it's for recipes, meal plans, or just to feel good--I'm so glad you are here!