If you don’t go out to eat much, then enjoy yourself and eat whatever you want. But if you’re always out and not happy, consider this approach:
Restaurants are tough for a few reasons.
You don’t know exactly know what’s in their food, even the most basic things. Brussels sprouts, for example, sounds great! Except they’re probably loaded with salt and oil. The chicken or fish? Who knows what’s in that sauce. Is that butter? Oil? Something else? A combination of the two?
Serving sizes is another problem. There are pancake stacks, and there are pancake stacks.
The other issue is the combinations on plates. Breakfasts for some reason are always so carb-heavy. If you get an omelette, you’ll probably get home fries, and toast, and a side of fruit. It’s great that you’ve got the protein from the egg, but the protein is small compared to the three carbs on the side. And if there’s cheese in that omelet, there’s also extra fat in the mix.
Here’s what you do:
Definitely go with the omelet and feel free to load it up with as many non-starchy veggies as you like—mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, the works! If you’re out somewhere they’ll let you make substitutions, our ideal balance is 2 whole eggs and 2 whites, no cheese, and ask them to prep it with minimal oil or butter. For the side, go with plain oatmeal (no brown sugar; cinnamon is a good flavor-enhancer) OR the toast (plain with no butter or jelly). Use the toast to DIY an egg sandwich and you won’t miss the butter at all.
Maybe the smoked salmon? Unfortunately it probably comes on buttery or over-avocado-y bread. (Really, not a fan of avocado toast, please read this story on why.) Ask for it on plain butter-free toast or eggs could be your best bet here as well. Consider ordering off the lunch portion of the menu which is often a brunch option: a salad with the dressing on the side may feel more like lunch food but it’s great brunch—or even breakfast—food too.
Lunch or dinner:
Anything grilled, like chicken or fish, is what we’d order. Ask your server to hold any glazes or sauces and to go light on the butter or oil. Go with a veggie side instead of carbs. If it comes on or with a salad, ask for dressing on the side.
Related: 5 seafood recipes that aren’t salmon
Main takeaway for eating out:
You will probably be over-served the foods you don’t need and under-served the ones you do. Remember: You don’t have to eat everything on your plate. There are always to-go containers. Don’t hesitate to make special requests and substitutions. Most restaurants these days are used to diet restrictions and are happy to accommodate you if you.
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