I often get asked about how I navigate restaurants and whether it is possible to eat out and live a healthy lifestyle. The operative word here being LIFESTYLE – there is no need to become a social recluse out of fear of not being able to eat healthy. You need to continue doing things that you enjoy, while finding balance because then it will become a lifestyle that SUSTAINABLE.
All you just need to do is learn how to navigate the menu and make smart choices based on how food is prepared, where it comes from and what it comes with.
Here are a few of my personal tips:
POACHED OR BOILED EGGS, instead of fried or scrambled. Poached or boiled eggs require no oil and the lowest amount of heat to cook resulting in the yolk remaining nutritionally in tact. (When you over cook the yolk of the egg the cholesterol within the yolk becomes harmful, as it oxidizes – this is where egg yolks get their misunderstood “bad wrap”).
What also needs to be considered is that oftentimes, when ordering an omelet or scrambled eggs, cream or milk is added without your knowledge. Therefore a poached or boiled egg is your safest healthiest & cleanest bet!
SAUCE ON THE SIDE. If the dish comes with a sauce, order it on the side or not at all.
AVOID COMPLIMENTARY BREAD BASKETS that some restaurants put on the table – simply send it back politely to avoid temptation and save your calorie consumption on something more beneficial.
GRILL OR STEAM as your chosen food preparation method when reading your menu and avoid fried and especially deep-fried foods. You are not in control of the quality or type of oil that is used and the heat it is brought to, so ask the chef to use less if possible.
OPT FOR LEANER PROTEINS such as: grilled fish, free range chicken or grass-fed/free range meat for your main meal and keep things light and fresh with the salad and veggie section for your sides.
AVOID CREAMED VEGGIE SIDES or ones with a cheese sauce.
AVOID STARCHY DINNERS. You do not need the extra energy before you call it a night.
BE MINDFUL OF SALAD DRESSINGS: a splash of cold-pressed, extra- virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar or squeeze of fresh lemon is always your best bet for dressings. You never know what went into the dressing on the menu, so best to keep them on the side. It is easy to ruin the good intensions of a salad with a bad dressing.
PIZZA PLEASE: firstly: apply zero guilt. Then opt for places that do a really good, THIN base or if you prefer – a gluten-free base. However, if you find any places that do a really amazing one please let a girl know, cause this one is yet to find one! From there, make sure to top it with loads of veggies and some protein if you wish. Don’t forget to ask for less or no cheese if possible. Refined carbohydrates and cheesy fats are not a healthy or low calorie combination.
NOTHING LIKE A SIMPLE PASTA! For me – nothing beats a simple pasta. In fact, my hubby makes the best simple seafood pasta that I think I will have to share soon. Just remember that simple food is good food. Opt for a pasta tossed in olive oil, garlic and herbs instead of a heavy creamy sauce. If you feel like being saucy, opt for Napoletana, instead of cream or béchamel! From there, opt for a lean, simply prepared protein, like seafood and a touch of veg/herbs or chili for an extra kick of flavor and nutritional benefit.
BURGERS: HALF THE BUN HUN: if you feel like a burger – no problemo! Just loose the bun or at least half of the bun, ask for no cheese and go easy on the sauces. Also ask for a side salad and no fries.
COFFEE COFFEE COFFEEEEE! When grabbing a quick coffee, if you can’t drink it black- ask for fresh almond milk (NOT soya) as a substitute and avoid the table sugar. Ask for honey instead, or carry a few Stevia or xylitol sachets with you. Also try and avoid the little cookie on the side… those little guys add up over a week… month …YEAR! (Yikes)
Alternatively, take the pressure off and order whatever has been harassing your brain all week and do so with: ZERO GUILT before moving on with your life and your everyday routine and healthy habits.