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Friday, September 5, 2014

Dining Out & Staying on Track

Guidelines for Dining Out & Staying on Track 
How to Navigate through a menu 
Dining out is a part of life, it's pretty much inevitable.  You can try to avoid it, but unless you decide to never leave your house, cut off all communication with friends and family,  and hire a personal chef... you will most likely end up dining out at one point or another.  As the weekend approaches, I thought I would share some easy tips for staying on track while dining out.  One bad weekend can destroy a weeks worth of hard work and lets face it... set backs are NOT fun.

The Rules For Dinning Out 

1.  Order before you walk into the restaurant.  Thankfully most restaurants these days offer an online menu.  I highly recommend going online, deciding what you are going to order and then DO NOT EVEN OPEN THE MENU.  If you can, order as soon as your server asks you what you want to drink so that you are not tempted to order something else.  

2.  If you can, pick the restaurant! It's a lot easier to stay on track if you stick to restaurants that offer a decent amount of healthy choices. 

3.  Eat before you go out!!!!!!! I know this sounds strange, but it's oh so helpful.  Even if you know you are going to order food, eat something small and healthy before you walk through the doors of the restaurant.  It's dangerous to walk into a restaurant hungry and if you aren't starving... You'll be more likely to stick to your diet. 

4.  Ask Questions.  I always use to be so afraid to bother or annoy the servers when dining out, BUT I had to get over it and you know what?  You shouldn't be afraid to ask! Asking important questions and finding out exactly what is in your food can make or break your diet.  Sometimes it may appear that you are eating healthy when in reality, there are hidden ingredients.  So, ask away!

5.  Avoid Gluten.  I know there is a lot of hoopla about gluten-free diets however if you are trying to stay on track with your diet... ditch the bread.  Just by simply eliminating bread, you will feel so much better and less guilty when you leave the restaurant.  You can order a burger with no bun, chicken, salad with no croutons etc.

6.  Ask if your meal can be cooked in Olive Oil.  Most restaurants use corn, vegetable, and canola oil.  This is one reason why eating out can be so unhealthy. Even real butter is better than vegetable oil or margarine. 

7.  ALWAYS get veggies as your side.  Always replace the starchy side.  If you are trying to stay on track while eating out... don't even consider anything else besides veggies as your side.  Just don't even go there... trust me! (this also goes back to rule #3 if you eat before you go out, you won't feel like you need much of a side anyways.)

8.  If you are going somewhere that offers "Free Bread" or other unlimited food items.. pass on it.  This is a hard one for me because it's FREE or as my dad would say.. "included in the price"  but this is a make or break decision at the very beginning of your meal.  I would recommend telling your hostess or server right away that you wouldn't like any bread so it's not sitting on the table, tempting you.

9.  Avoid Breaded Foods.  Always opt for the grilled instead of breaded.

10.  Avoid Dressings and Sauces.  Always ask for your dressing on the side.

11. Skip over the Pizza and Pasta parts of the menu.  I would recommend avoiding places that mostly offer pizza & pasta (like pizza joints or Italian) but sometimes you can't.  If you are at an Italian restaurant, then I would say just skip this part of the menu all together and only focus on the salads, meat, and seafood parts. 

12.  Ask for NO MSG.  MSG is awful and you should always try and avoid it!


Breakfast ideas: 
Breakfast is usually a pretty easy meal to find healthy alternatives.  An omelet without cheese, an egg plate with with no potatoes, sub the toast, biscuits, pancakes and potatoes with extra bacon or turkey sausage. Always ask for a side of fruit in lieu of a starchy carb. 

Lunch Ideas:
Salads with no croutons, cheese, or dressings.  You can ask for extra meat, egg, avocado, tomato etc.
Non-Cream soups.
Lettuce Wraps.

Dinner Ideas:
Burger with no bun.
Meat, Chicken, or Fish entrees with Veggies
Fajitas with pico de gallo.  No rice, tortillas, or beans.  
A side of Guacamole goes with everything.
 Chinese:  Steamed protein and vegetables with egg drop soup
Italian:  Meatballs with a side salad.


Fast Food Options: 

If you click on the restaurant, it will take you directly to the nutritional information for that restaurant!

Surrito bowl with any meat filling, salsa, and guacamole

Grilled Chicken Strips and a Fruit Cup

Any fresh juices or smoothies

Chicken with two sides of steamed veggies

Any of their meats

Lettuce Wrap

Eggs, Bacon, Ham, Sausage
Chicken Tenderloins (grilled)

Chipolte  Lime Chicken 
Jalapeno Lime Shrimp
Garlic Herb Salmon

Aussie Cob Salad with no croutons and grilled chicken
Steak with veggies
Chicken veggies

Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Egg Drop Soup
Ginger Chicken with Broccoli
Lemon Chicken
Changs Spicy Chicken

Cajun Ribeye
Any of the burgers with no bun and no cheese
Chicken plates with veggies

ask for the "unwiched" style.  They wrap all the sandwiches in lettuce.  Ask for no cheese.

Salad Bar
Gluten Free Menu


There are so many other places you can go, but this is just my short list to give you a few ideas! I hope this helps.  It's important to stay on track over the weekend... even if you are planning on having a cheat meal it's important to plan ahead but just remember that life is short! Don't be too hard on yourself and enjoy the little things!  If you end up cheating when you weren't intending to, it's not the end of the world.  This blog was just intended to provide helpful tips if you are trying really hard to stay on track!


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