Healthy

Your Handy Guide to Staying Healthy While Eating Out

I’ll just say it — I am not ever going to be the girl who goes to dinner and orders two stalks of asparagus. I love food! I love going to restaurants, getting take out, snacking at sporting events… you get the idea.

Good news! The secret to being able to double fist your favorite foods is knowing how to order them. Lori Zanini, RD, and creator of the free 7 day meal plan is singing the same tune in these awesome suggestions for what to order when eating out. A few simple swaps can change a not-so-healthy salad (it’s true, not all salads are created clean) into a healthy-yet-still-delish dish.

Whether I’m on the road for work or in my own neighborhood, I love exploring and trying new restaurants. If you know what to look for, choosing healthy menu items is easy no matter what type of restaurant you are trying! You don’t even have to totally overhaul your order.

See Lori’s easy tips for ordering healthier options without sacrificing your taste buds when you’re eating out. She’s even categorized them by restaurant types! Check the out here:

Mediterranean Restaurants
• Greek salad with chicken. Ask for an oil and vinegar dressing on the side.
• Chicken kabobs with a side of hummus and grilled veggies.
• Salad sampler plates: Choose a bean or lentil salad, a fattoush or greek salad, and hummus with veggies.

Sushi Restaurants
• Hand rolls (sans rice) that pair your favorite protein (salmon, tuna, shrimp etc.) with lots of veggies such as carrots, cucumber, scallions, or avocado.
• Start with a seaweed salad, edamame, or miso soup and then have a tuna or salmon roll with avocado and cucumber.
• When available, choose rolls made with brown rice or quinoa to bump up the fiber content,
• Avoid: sushi rolls that use the descriptions: crunchy, creamy, tempura, crispy or fried.
• Choose: rolls with just a few simple veggie ingredients and your favorite fish (salmon, yellowtail, tuna, shrimp).

Italian Restaurants
• Choose pasta dishes with a tomato-based sauce instead of a cream-based sauce.
• Order a salad and split an entree with your dinner companion!
• Choose: entrees with grilled or baked chicken or fish as the protein.
• Indulge: decide whether you’ll have bread with a salad or protein and veggie entree, or skip the bread and have pasta as your main dish.

Mexican Restaurants
• Burrito bowls over salad greens instead of a bed of rice.
• Ask for veggies to dip in your favorite salsa and guacamole.
• Choose black beans instead of Mexican rice for a filling, protein-packed side dish.
• Fill your taco salad bowl with your favorite veggies, black or pinto beans, and grilled chicken, fish, or shrimp. Use salsa as a salad dressing and feel free to top with jalapenos, onions, cilantro, tomatoes, etc.

Chinese Restaurants
• Choose steamed veggies and a grilled or sauteed protein (chicken, fish, or tofu). Add a half cup of brown rice.
• Substitute soy sauce for any creamy sauces that may come with your meal.
• Try eating your protein and veggies first, and save the rice for last if you are still hungry.
• Choose meats that are grilled or sauteed instead of fried.

No matter where you’re eating, load up on veggies and a lean protein (chicken, fish, or tofu) first. Choose menu items that are grilled, steamed, or baked over fried or breaded options. These small swaps will help keep the flavor (and enjoyment!) of eating at your favorite restaurants without sacrificing your health.

What are your favorite tricks for staying on track when dining out?

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  • Christina

    Great suggestions! I actually prefer the sushi rolls that aren’t fried. My favorites are the spicy ones. The Spicy Tuna Roll is one of my faves! 😀

  • Maria Beatrice d’Este

    Ah great tips!
    Luckily I usually choose for salads or anything light anyway 🙂

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