Eating Healthy at a Restaurant
How to Eat Healthy at a Restaurant
Eating healthy is important to most people. Most people think in order to eat healthy, you need to cook ALL of your meals at home. Well, I don’t cook everyday. Sometimes I get burned out cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the family so I like to go out to eat. There are a few restaurants that we LOVE as a family. And at these restaurants, I can find healthier options to eat and still stay on track.
How to Make Healthy Choices at a Restaurant
- You don’t need to eat EVERYTHING they give you
- Salads are great but get the dressing on the side
- Turn your burger into a lettuce wrap
- Order the steak!
- If you can, order off the kids meal
You don’t need to eat EVERYTHING they give you
Eating healthy at a restaurant may also mean watching your portion sizes. The portions at restaurants tend to be larger than what you may have at home. I like to weigh my food because I count macros, but I cannot weigh my food at a restaurant. There are “general” rules for how to measure your food without a scale.
This chart is great! It shows you basically how to measure portion sizes only using your hand. Using a chart like this can help you keep track of your portions and your macros. I give a bit of a buffer because most restaurants use more oils, sauces, and butter than I normally would use at home.
Eating salads can be great but some restaurants can sneak in TONS of added calories, from the large portions of cheese to croutons and extra dressing! For example, when I order a chicken Caesar salad, I ALWAYS get the dressing on the side! When I get the dressing on the side, I get full control of how much I put on it. Some restaurants, especially fast food restaurants, will use breaded and fried chicken on their salads — I always request grilled chicken instead. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE deep fried foods! But I know that I can’t overdo it. Not only will it throw my macros off, it upsets my stomach.
To me, the best fast food place to get a salad is Wendy’s! The salads are very big and their grilled chicken is great! They also have so many fun choices; like salads with fruits and nuts! But my FAVORITE is the Caesar salad and Jacob loves the apple pecan salad!
Who doesn’t love TACOS!?
Mexican food is delicious, but between the rich sauces and the massive tortillas, that can add up to a LOT of calories! We have a local Mexican restaurant who puts the ingredients of a chicken or steak fajita on a salad and it is AMAZING! So basically, its grilled chicken or steak with grilled onions and peppers on top of Romaine lettuce! I get it every time we go there because like most people, I like to eat the chips and salsa too!
Lettuce Wrapped Burgers
Eating healthy can be done when eating burgers too! My absolute FAVORITE way to eat a burger is lettuce wrapped. There are a few reasons I love it. One, it is a fun way to eat a salad. Two, LESS calories than a bun! Three, I get to eat more fries! So true! One way I manage my carbs when it comes to a burger and fries is the fries are the priority. (Ok, but seriously, fries are worth the calories for me!) I get a lettuce wrapped burger so I can eat more fries and not feel horrible afterward. My favorite place to get a burger is Red Robin! I always get the Sauteed Shroom Burger Wedgie Style with sweet potato fries! So good!! Red Robin also has several protein substitutes, such as grilled chicken breast or veggie patty.
If you like red meat, you know a good steak is perfect when you don’t have to make it! Haha! We don’t go out for just steak very often. However, the kids LOVE Applebee’s so Jacob and I always order the 2 for $20 and I get the steak. The best part of ordering the steak is I get to choose the sides. I think the best way of eating healthy with steaks can be the side dishes! I always get the steamed broccoli and french fries (of course)! Steak is pretty straight forward with macros, though may have a little more fat with the butter or oil it’s cooked with.
Order off the kid’s menu
The kid’s menu tends to have smaller portion sizes. Smaller portion sizes are great because they tend to stay within my macros. Another great thing about the kids menu: they always have the fun foods! Macaroni and cheese… burgers… chicken tenders… HAHA! Some times I just want to splurge a bit but I still want the portions to stay small (or I will get an upset stomach) so I like to have chicken tenders and fries. Kid’s meals are perfect for that! Also, fast food kids meals even come with a toy! Also, the kids meal at Panera is basically a smaller portion of the “adult sized” meals.
Going out to eat and staying within your diet
Who said you cannot eat out when you are on a diet? There are many ways to stay within your diet and not have to cook everything! Sometimes we all just need a break from cooking all time and want to spend time with family and/friends! Just remember my tips and you will enjoy your meal and stay within your diet!!