Alright folks. This one is very tricky.
I just got back from touring around the middle states of the United States. The restaurant options, especially when you are rushing on and off the highways, hitting different cities, are… frustrating. Cracker Barrels, IHops, Waffle Houses and McDonald’s. I was hit hard and fast with the challenge of getting in some nutritious food while moving around and having to rely on restaurants.
Here are my tips for eating out in restaurants all the time:
Always start with a vegetable soup or a garden salad. If your salad comes with cheese and croutons, skip ‘em. Dressing on the side – ALWAYS – and keep it a vinaigrette.
Choose your meal wisely – pick something that has a good source of protein and a serving of vegetables. If your options are really slim, grab a salad with chicken. You might think it isn’t filling enough (while you’re starving and haven’t yet eaten), but give it a shot. It typically is quite filling. If you have the option, grab a salad that has a darker leaf lettuce, like arugula or spinach. If you need a starch, ask for a baked potato on the side – no fixings, please.
For breakfast, always get your eggs poached when you have the option. No one needs more than two, and skip the home fries. Make sure your toast is whole grain, butterless (you can add your own butter if you really need it) – and ask for a side of fruit or salad. With your coffee, don’t surpass one sugar packet and opt for milk, not cream. (Better really to pass on both if you can.)
Sandwich for lunch? Take the top off. NO MAYO – you don’t need it. Many places butter the bun AND still add a dressing. If you have a buttered bun, plus butter, plus mayo, plus cheese – that alone can be 600 calories! Always have a salad – we don’t get enough nutritious vegetables while eating out of the home all the time.
You pretty much never really want to get a pasta dish while eating out if you’re trying to lose weight. The portions are insane. If you MUST order pasta, avoid all cream sauces, make sure it has a protein source and vegetables, and only eat half. Take the rest home. Skip the bread – you don’t need 500 calories worth of starch alone.
The best choices to make are always a lean protein source (fish is best, or chicken breast, other seafood or tofu). It typically comes with a better quality starch (rice) and a serving of vegetables.
Always ask for your vegetables steamed – you can ask them to drizzle them with olive oil. This is better than to have a slop of overcooked had-been healthy mound sopped with yellow margarine!
And my last two tips – if you MUST have dessert, share it with one, two, or even five friends!
AND – eat a snack before you go out to dinner. You’ll be MUCH more likely to make a wise decision that will have you feeling light and lovely and satisfied afterward, instead of coma-tose and remorseful.
*feature image found at www.danamccabe.net