How to eat healthy when dining out

You can’t eat every meal at home. You just can’t. You have working lunches. On busy days, it’s either takeout or no food. And dining out with friends happens (and it should – it’s good for the soul).

So, yea, you have to eat out sometimes. But just because you’re out to eat doesn’t mean you have to eat poorly. You can make good decisions when you dine out, especially if you follow these three steps:

Ask questions. One of the easiest ways to improve your health is by choosing quality ingredients. At a basic level this means ingredients with words you can pronounce, but it also encompasses local, sustainable, and, at times, organic foods. You want to check on the quality of your ingredients because science has shown us time and time again that consuming higher quality foods ups the metabolism and aids weight loss. And, look, I know this can feel like a hard step to execute, but your health is way more important than your ego. Not to mention, your server is trained to answer your questions. I should know. I served for more than a decade. So, ask questions. It’s the only way you’re going to truly know what you’re about to eat.

Mind your meat. This doesn’t mean no meat, it just means choose your meats wisely. The reality is that how an animal is raised impacts the final product, i.e. if pigs are given antibiotics, the pork loin in front of you has them too. People are starting to catch on this fact and so are restaurants. Unfortunately, instead of improving the quality of their meat, many restaurants are using buzzwords like “all-natural” or “hormone-free” to mask the fact that the meat they serve was raised inhumanely and given poor feed. So, if you’re going to order meat when you’re out, ask your server where it’s from (local is king) or look for the following phrases on the menu: 

  • Beef: Grass-fed and/or pasture-raised
  • Poultry: Free-range, organic, free-roaming and/or pasture-raised
  • Pork: Organic, and/or pasture-raised

Order dressings on the side. This isn’t just for salads. I ask for almost any sauce, spread, or added drizzle to be placed on the side. Unless dressings are made in-house, they tend to have a lot of added sugar and poor oils, which is less than ideal. Also, let’s face it, restaurants sometimes cover their foods in sauces to make up the for the fact the meal just isn’t that great. So, putting condiments on the side allows you to 1. Minimize sugar, poor fats, and other unnatural items that don’t serve your body and 2. Ensure the food you're eating actually tastes good.

If you follow these simple steps, there’s a good chance you’ll pick healthy meal when out. Let me know if they work for you.

 

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