Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Eating Clean While Eating Out

I was asked on my Facebook page about how to eat clean while you are out to eat, and since I haven't made anything new in the kitchen (yet) I thought today would be the perfect day to give a few tips.

Look for the basics. You want to start by looking at the menu and seeing what protein, carb, and fat options you have. I usually check to see if they serve any grilled chicken dishes or even if they have grilled chicken sandwiches. Fish is also a good option to look for as long as it's not battered. As far as carbs go, I'm usually out of luck because most carbs that restaurants serve all have gluten in them, so after I choose my protein I typically scour the menu for veggies. If a side of steamed veggies is not an option you can always go with a salad (no cheese, no croutons) with oil and vinegar dressing.

Know how to order. When you've decided what you are going to eat, make sure you order everything without butter, salt, or oil. Also, you want to make sure to get any sauces or condiments on the side (or just have them leave it off altogether). For example, this past weekend I went out to lunch with my family at BJ's Brewery. I ordered their turkey burger with no sauce, no bun, no cheese, and a side salad with oil and vinegar. The burger came with sliced avocado and I dipped in mustard, so my protein, fat, and veggies were covered.

Stay away from the "extras". There are so many more temptations at restaurants than there are at home, so you have to go in to it knowing that you may need a little more will-power than usual. There is probably going to be a bar or at the very least your favorite strawberry lemonade or diet soda. Always stick with water or unsweetened tea! Next, the bread basket is your enemy. Unless you are sure that it is whole wheat or whole grain bread you should resist. Plus, it's never good to eat a carb by itself anyway, so just stay away! Then of course, there is the dessert menu. Need I say more?

If you are able to follow these three simple rules, you don't have to worry about eating out every once and a while. I still prefer to eat at home most of the time, because you are never really sure that the restaurant is following your instructions when they prepare the food, what the quality of the food is, or if there is leftover butter, oil etc. from what was cooked before your meal. It's also helpful to look for healthy restaurants in your area- places that are diligent about gluten free food preparation and those that tout food quality are usually the best options. Hope this helps!


  1. Luvena said

    I always get so stressed when I have to eat out. I wish I could just go to the back kitchen and say "here let me prepare my dish" LOL. Calling ahead of time and asking questions sometimes works but I have resorted to taking my own food. You gotta do what you gotta do.

  2. I totally agree with Luvena! Thanks Little b for posting these tips! :D

  3. I love these tips! I definitely order a LOT of grilled chicken salads. I am also the queen of "On the Side." My husband always says I was aptly named "Sally" because I am just like "When Harry Met Sally."

  4. Haha! That's so funny! I am the queen of annoying orders, but I was a server for many years, so I did my time and know it's not really that difficult to customize an order :)

  5. This just seems ridiculous to me.

    If you are going to spend the money to go to a restaurant to eat, why not just do it and enjoy it? It seems like a massive waste to pay to eat something a professional chef has prepared, yet demand that they prepare it in the same way you would at home.

    You will be paying for the entire burger, whether or not you order it without this, that, and the other. A burger with cheese once a week will not kill you, or even effect your results to a noticeable extent.

    Also, if this is something you do on a date I guarantee he will be thoroughly unimpressed by this blatant display of high-maintenance.

    1. Well, my anonymous friend-- To answer your first question, I do enjoy what I eat when I eat out even though I order it a particular way. Just because I'm ordering something with no butter or oil doesn't mean it's not good. I have made clean eating a lifestyle, so it doesn't really matter if I'm at home or in a fancy restaurant, I'm going to make the healthiest choices possible a vast majority of the time, plain and simple.

      To address your second point, you clearly don't follow my blog because if you did you would know that I am intolerant to both gluten and dairy, so eating a burger with a bun and cheese may not kill me, but it will cause a severe amount of pain. Even if that were not the case, I don't think I ever said anything about a cheat meal "killing" anyone (one of the most lame excuses ever for cheating) but I personally don't want or need cheat meals. I don't crave oily, fatty foods so I'm not going to eat them whether it will kill me or not.

      Lastly, if eating healthy is high-maintenance in your eyes then I feel sorry for you... I have learned to move past what other people think of the way I eat, because I have the utmost confidence that I am doing the best thing for my body.


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