THE KALEJUNKIE DISH: TIPS ON HEALTHY EATING, RESTAURANT STYLE
One of the things that used to give me major anxiety when dining out is the fact that we don’t always know what’s in our food.
Nowadays, restaurants (at least in the major cities!) are a lot better at being transparent about ingredients. But even so, healthy restaurant meals are typically much higher in sodium than a meal that you would prepare at home.
But dining out is SO fun and I don’t stress about it! I eat out about 3 to 4 times a week, and there is literally nothing I love more than sharing a yummy meal with a friend.
So you are probably wondering how I stay healthy when dining out — I get this question on Instagram a lot.
Here are my top tips for staying healthy, restaurant style.
Drink a glass of water before you go out, and take small sips throughout your meal at the restaurant.
Water will help you feel full, which helps with portion control, and also helps diminish bloating from excess sodium. Don’t love water? Squeeze a lemon or another fruit and make it a fruit infused water. Or go for a sparkling water, bubbles are fun!
Make sure your plate contains more greens than starchy carbs, and don’t forget to include a lean protein and healthy fats.
When I’m going out to eat, most of the time my eyes go straight to the salad section, and I always add a piece of lean protein, such as a chicken breast or grilled salmon. If you are veg, add some beans or quinoa. Why? Because the combination of greens, lean protein, and healthy fats (aka olive oil and avocados!) keep you full and satisfied. Starchy carbs are mostly empty calories, which can lead to even more cravings or overeating. So that piece of white bread on the table? Sure, eat it! Balance is the name of the game; but make sure your main course is mostly those greens!
Nix the booze.
I’m definitely a glass-of-wine-a-night kind of gal. It’s like my favorite thing. But one thing that helps me make healthy choices when dining out is refraining from that glass all together (and saving it for a night I’m having a home cooked meal), or really, truly limiting it to one drink. Why? I’m certainly not telling you what to do, but I can tell you from experience that when that buzz starts to kick in, I lose my awareness, and I’m more likely to reach for the less healthy food choices — aka higher in saturated fats, tons of sodium, and poor nutritional value.
BYO!!!!!! Bring your own healthy condiments to the restaurant.
No, I’m not telling you to walk into the restaurant with the bottle of salad dressing that you see in this picture. I’m kind of ridiculous, so I do it, but you don’t have to. Pour your favorite dressing in a small container and toss it in your purse. My three very favorite things to BYO: (1) coconut aminos, (2) salad dressings, and (3) dark chocolate. Coconut aminos are a soy free soy sauce alternative and I love pouring them on my veggies, and bringing them with me to sushi restaurants. When it comes to salad dressings, I go with Sir Kensington’s ranch dressings. They come in four varieties: Classic Ranch, Buffalo Ranch, Avocado Ranch, and Pizza Ranch. I’m hooked on all of them, so I rotate which one I bring with me. Of course they taste amazing, but they are made with clean ingredients— certified humane eggs, no dairy and no sugar. If you didn’t know this little tidbit: most restaurant salad dressings contain sugar! Some are even made with cheap oils like canola. So unless you go the boring oil & vinegar route, chances are your options are going to be limited. I always order my Sir Kensington’s dressings online, to stock up so I don’t run out!
I save the real desserts (aka real sugar + other ingredients I probably don’t want to know about) for special occasions, not because I believe any food is BAD. It’s because I don’t feel well and my digestion is thrown off when I eat it. That said, I do enjoy a little something sweet after a meal, so if I’m ordering something at the restaurant, I opt for the fruit plate or sorbet, and as I told you above, I bring my own dark chocolate and break off a square!
I hope you guys found this post helpful. What are your favorite tips for staying healthy when dining out? Make sure to leave a comment below and share!
*This post is sponsored by my friends at Sir Kensington’s, but all opinions are 100% authentic and my own.