09 Mar Ordering SUCCESS off a Menu
I’m so amazed by the convenience and availability of food. Literally, anything you desire is a quick phone call, drive through, or sit down away. If you have the funds, there’s absolutely no need to take on the art of cooking. Who wants to try and fail when all you have to do is go to the closest restaurant and someone else can prepare it for you. We can talk all day on how negatively the fast food industry has ruined our health, but let’s focus on the positive side….. yes, the positive side of eating off a menu!
Many people think when they are trying to “get healthy” or “diet,” going out to eat is off limits. False. Fortunately, there are many different restaurant and fast food options that are healthy. Many of our Nutrition Pros clients have taken advantage of the fast food industry and have managed to get AMAZING results!! The key: Have a plan and be smart about what you order. The internet has made it even easier to have a plan! Most restaurants have their menus posted on their websites or Facebook pages. Take a look before going out so you don’t get trapped by the pretty pictures of the extremely unhealthy meals that can be a disaster!
Let’s talk about a couple scenarios:
Say it’s the weekend, you get invited out with friends, and you’re trying to decide where to go eat. Steakhouses are the easiest places to order something fresh and healthy! Start by ordering a quality meat with no sauce or sauce on the side. Next, order some sort of green vegetable. Keep in mind that this is where it can get tricky. Most restaurants will use some sort of vegetable oil or a ton of butter. Asked for the vegetables steamed. You will also need some sort of starch. You can always get a baked potato plain with some butter on the side. Another starch option would be a side of rice. You always want to make sure you are getting a good source of protein, carbs (greens and a starch), and fat.
Here is an example of balanced meal that would fit perfectly into a healthy lifestyle from Charleston’s:
*Oven Roasted Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Baked Beans.
-Sub the mashed potatoes for a baked potato, replace the baked beans with a side of the vegetable medley steamed.
*Sirloin, Baked Potato, and a House Salad
-Looks pretty good to me! Pay attention to portion size. When in doubt, eat half! And always order dressing on the side.
*Salads can seem like a safe option, but order with caution. The toppings can get a little out of control, so order salads without the extras.
Tips for Success:
*Watch out for sauces that come on any type of meat. They can be full of sodium and bad fats.
*Always drink more water when you eat at a restaurant. There can be hidden sodium in most things so you want to do your body a favor and flush it out and keep hydrated.
*COMMUNICATE WHAT YOU NEED, NOT WHAT’S ON THE MENU. The cooks will prepare what you want and how you want it, so don’t be afraid to ask.
*Don’t forget that a lot of restaurants offer Car Side Pick-up now. Call in your order ahead of time and they’ll bring in right out to your car! Simple and easy!!
Sometimes there is no time to cook. There are many different shops that have recently surfaced that offer pre-cooked, healthy options. If you have 5 minutes to run into the store here are the places to go:
*Grocery stores- most offer a deli area that has a salad bar. Order a couple pieces of roasted chicken or even grabbing a rotisserie chicken, and you’re set! Other options for protein include pre-cooked steak strips that you can find in the meat section or even a pack of tuna or salmon.
*Chipotle & Qdoba- go for a burrito bowl or salad that can fit your needs. Most workers have an extremely heavy hand when scooping rice, beans, and guacamole. Order half scoops and steer clear of the sour cream and cheese.
*If you are in a pinch and you absolutely have to go to Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonalds, etc, opt for a salad. As for your protein, order a grilled chicken sandwich or a plain hamburger and remove the bun. Stay away from anything fried, like French fries, fried chicken, fried fish, and so on.
Whether it’s for business or pleasure, traveling is sometimes unavoidable and can include anywhere from riding in car or spending time in an airport. First and foremost, HYDRATE! Most of the time, travel can cause dehydration, especially if you’re stuck in a car. Dehydration can mimic hunger pangs, so start with fluids first. Second, decide if you’re actually hungry or just bored. Most people munch on foods because they spend hours staring at the open road… hello boredom! Down load an audio book or utilize this time to learn a new language! Keep your mind busy. If you finally do decide that it is hunger, there are many things to snack on that won’t de rail your diet. Here a list of some-
- Beef or Turkey Jerky
- Nuts and Seeds
- Protein Powder (travels very easily)
- Protein Bars (Quest or RX Bars)-recommended
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Veggie Cups
- Fresh Fruit
The key to success is preparation. In these cases, preparation can be completely mental. Prepare yourself to make the best decision possible based on what you need. There are plenty of options to throw you off track, so stick to your guns! Unfortunately, your friends may not be on the same path, but it is much more rewarding to enjoy their company while also moving forward with your progress!
Good luck and enjoy the flavors of life!
As always, we’re here to help!