8 Ways to Keep it Clean(er) While Dining Out
Although we truly believe the best way to eat healthy is by cooking meals at home, we also recognize it’s not the most realistic. As much as we value maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we also seriously enjoy food and the social aspect of dining out. In our opinion, it’s equally as important to stay social & happy as it is to be health focused, and, the two CAN be done in tandem! We totally understand that while on a health kick, tons of dinners or events can seem somewhat daunting, but worry not, we’re here to help you stay on track (and, still enjoy life while you’re at it!)
1. Do some menu stalking.
Pretend the menu is your ex. The restaurant’s website, Instagram and/or Yelp are usually where we start. This will give you a better idea of what’s available, especially if there’s a lot of chatter and you’re unable to fully soak in all the options at the table. We find that it can require some time to figure out what we want, and how to healthify it if need be! Less menu anxiety = better choices made.
2. Never head to dinner hungry!
Eat a small meal an hour or two before going out to dinner. We recommend one that’s full of vegetables, lean protein, or perhaps some GG crackers! This way you can enjoy your meal sans ravenous arrival that ends with an attack of the bread basket.
This is one of our favorite meals when dining out for several reasons: the meal can be light if you want it to, and, sushi spots tend to have a lot of healthy accommodations available. Brown rice? Check. Cucumber wrap? Double check. No sauce? Done. For those of you in NYC, we’re really into Bondi – it’s a new sushi restaurant in Nomad that uses cauliflower rice!
4. Be wise about your drink choice.
Our recs: a glass of dry wine or a vodka soda with lime. There are SO many hidden cals in that agave-citrus-who-knows-what cocktail. This is a super easy way to strip sugar and general badness from your experience.
5. Be cognizant of sauces.
Oils and dressings can quickly turn your seemingly healthy meal into a nightmare. An easy swap we use – when ordering fish, we’ll ask to have it cooked in lemon and olive oil, rather than what could have been a sodium explosion. For salads, try requesting your dressing on the side, this way you’re in control of the amount used. Most restaurants are very accommodating here (and if not, fake an allergy).
6. Slow down!
Space out your dishes, and try not to over order initially – if you arrive hungry, we can pretty much guarantee your eyes to be bigger than your stomach. You can always add more – rest assured you will not leave the restaurant starving.
7. Eat ½-¾ of your plate.
Common misconception: you have to eat everything because it’s there. Your mind can easily trick you into believing this to be true! This one can be weirdly difficult at first, but once you’ve done it, you’ll realize how much you’ve been overeating while out. Tip: separate what’s on your plate from the get go, or, box part of it up right away. Trust us when we say you’ll be much happier leaving the restaurant not feeling like you’re about to explode. Remember that portions in America tend to be much bigger than than a normal serving size!
8. Dessert: 3 bites!
We both have a serious sweet tooth, and honestly see few gains in depriving ourselves of dessert entirely. So, our rule here is simple: don’t overdo it. If you’re anything like us and can’t resist this part of the meal, try having just three bites. We’ve found this really settles our sweet tooth, while still giving us that little bit of sugar we need. It also helps to ask for some mint tea, hot water with lemon, or coffee after the meal in order to get these cravings under control.