How to Eat Out and Eat Clean

Oh Sunday, I love Sunday's, I know for most that means work the next day, but not for me. I'm on holidays for a week - freedom! Had another fabulous and focused week, still some emotional struggles, but I was on track and lost 0.6 lbs. Not ONLY 0.6 lbs, I lost 0.6 lbs, there's no ONLY in weight loss. But another reason I love Sundays is the after workout breakfast. Seriously, breakfast is sometimes 95% of the reason I get out of bed to come work out on a Sunday morning, sometimes its not, but it can be a pretty motivating reason to get up when all I want to do is sleep in.

With some great summer weather that already happened and hopefully more to come a big theme that was occurring for many people this week was balancing the eating out with trying to lose weight. Food is a very social thing in our culture, going out for a drink after work, or for dinner, it's ingrained in our culture and sometimes there's just no way around it. I've significantly cut back on the amount I eat out, mostly for financial reasons, but also for health reasons. Sunday mornings is one of my allowed meals out. At breakfast this morning we were brainstorming on tips to eat out and still stick to the plan and some great places that have healthy options.

Here is what we came up with...

Substitutions you can ask for in "most" restaurants:
-dressing on the side
-a vinegar based dressing instead of cream based
-meat grilled instead of fried
-no croutons
-no cheese
-salad instead of fries
-bun-less burgers or whole wheat buns (sometimes)
-dry toast
-want eggs benny? order it on one piece of dry whole wheat toast, hollandaise on the side and fruit instead of the potatoes
-most breakfast restaurants will make you a custom eggs & toast or eggs & fruit etc. if you ask
-edamame beans are a great appy in most restaurants, but come with lots of salt, you can ask them to simply steam the edamame and leave the seasoning off.
-Starbucks protein shakes, you can ask for non fat milk and 1/2 the banana instead of whole banana
-non fat lattes

Other Tips
-ask for half your meal to be packed up before you get it at the table, some portions tend to be very large, or split the entree
-don't be afraid to ask how things are cooked or if substitutions can be made that are not listed on the menu, worse they can say is no
-if nothing on the menu looks like a good choice, often you can ask for a simple green salad with grilled chicken
-check out the menu online before going to the restaurant so you know ahead of time

Restaurant Recommendations
-ReBar, located in Bastion Square, is our go to restaurant every Sunday (yes creatures of habit). The servers at this restaurant probably just think "oh wow the problem table again" LOL, but you know what seriously we always get awesome service and the servers actually remember ALL our custom orders without even writing it down, how can we not come back week after week. One of my favorites to order is just side dishes, this morning I had 3 poached eggs, pinto beans, grilled tomatoes and a side of fruit. With my coffee and tip that only came to $16.
-Oak Bay Bistro. BDHQ over winner John Waller is the executive chef and I have been a few times, each time fabulous food. They make delicious breakfast frittata and of coarse accommodating to your substitutions. They have also added a protein shake to their menu which is filled with tons of delicious ingredients.
-Boston Pizza. So obviously pizza is not top on the clean eating list, but if you are headed out with a group they do have some good choices. I like ordering an individual pizza on thin whole wheat crust, normally chicken & veggies, I will ask for no cheese and extra vegetables, then when the pizza comes I sprinkle some Parmesan on it. I will order a side salad and eat half of the pizza and the salad. In order to ensure I only eat 1/2 the pizza I ask for a to go box right away so I set it aside.
-The Noodle Box. They offer great options to customize your meal, but remember there is a large amount of sodium in most of their boxes. I will normally order spicy peanut chicken box, no carb, split box. This makes my meal into two meals, you can also ask for brown rice instead of the noodles but I enjoy the no carb. The nutritional info on the website shows that if you were to order it with rice, 1/2 the box would be 464 calories and 1060mg of sodium, you can also limit this by asking for 1/2 the amount of sauce, or just don't eat all the sauce.
-Brown's Social House. The have a healthy social bowl which I have ordered every time, it comes with chicken (or fish), braised cabbage and a side salad if you order it low carb or you can have it with the almond rice. They also have a cowboy and cowgirl salad which are really good.
-Nandos Chicken. You can eat the chicken without the skin, they have side salads and also premium salads. I normally order spring Mix salad with chicken which comes with vinaigrette dressing, this comes to only $12.
-Though I have not eaten there, another recommendation was for Ferris Upstairs or the Clay Pigeon, they will also accommodate your customization and have good choices according to "the BW breakfast crew".

Bottom line is you can make clean eating work in your lifestyle, you don't have to deprive yourself or never go out to eat ever again, it's about educating yourself on what customization can happen and choosing wisely. It is not realistic to never eat out, but you can make good choices and "minimize the damage".

What is your favorite place to eat out and what substitutions do you make?


Cindy said…
great tips! the other thing i also do is check out menus ahead of time so i can scope out healthy stuff beforehand. if i pre-plan, i'm less likely to stray from clean eating otherwise i tend to just get whatever and give in to temptation if i don't plan. good timing on your post, i'm eating out 4 times this week (eek!) so i'm going to try as hard as possible to eat clean!
The Girl said…
This is a great list...I'm learning how to be my own advocate and not fall into the trap that my friends unintentionally set when we go out. They don't MEAN to be unsupportive...but they're not facing the same struggle that I am.

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