You guys know that one of my favourite things to do in life is eat out at restaurants. I adore the experience; being able to taste different foods and flavours, speaking to the waiters/chefs, drinking delicious wine and being in the company of my favourite people. I love it. But it can be tricky to navigate a menu to find the most healthy options… whilst also remembering to treat yourself every now and again!
I get asked a lot of questions about what I order in restaurants so to help you guys choose the healthiest, most nourishing options when eating out I’ve asked three of my favourite nutritionists what they order in restaurants too!
Lola Berry, http://lolaberry.com/
“Well to be completely honest, I order what I feel like. I’m a big fan of heading out and enjoying meals with the people you love so I see how I’m feeling and order according to that. Of course that often means something pretty healthy like protein and some kind of veggies. And I reckon it’s pretty easy to find that pretty much anywhere. A nice piece of chicken, steak or fish and whatever veggies they have on the menu or a brill salad.
That said, if you’re out to dinner and want to let your hair down then I’m all for it, I think life’s all about balance and I’m often a sucker for desserts so I think there’s no problems in treating yourself every now and then. The best bit is you can still indulge and stay gluten and dairy free these days, so don’t worry about missing out on anything – knowing there’s always a way to enjoy a super tasty meal with the people you love.”
Lyndi Cohen, The Nude Nutritionist, http://www.thenudenutritionist.com.au/
“When ordering out, I always pick a dish with plenty of vegetables to help me reach 5-10 serves per day. Meals with at least 50% vegetables like soup; salad and stir-fry naturally tend to be the better-for-you picks anyway!
I also never eat a boring salad! By adding a dressing, delicious sauce or ‘fun’ ingredient, I’m more likely to eat veggies every day. From personal experience, I learnt that forcing yourself to eat healthy food that you don’t enjoy is unsustainable. Having a little sugar or fat found in the sauce or dressing is a small compromise to make sure I never feel like I’m on a diet.
When ordering out, I always focus on what I should eat (like plenty of vegetables) instead of focusing what I can’t eat. That way, I naturally crowd out the rest and never feel deprived or restricted.”
Keri Glassman, http://nutritiouslife.com/
“First, I never go to a restaurant starving! I usually have a snack within a couple of hours before dining out. Next, instead of diving into the bread basket, I ask for an order of steamed green beans or crudités or even olives to snack on at the table.
For the meal, I generally save starches for home when I know I can make them healthier (for example, sweet potato, wild rice etc.) and control the portion easier. I usually order a protein-based dish such as fish and double up on the veggies. “Can you swap the potatoes for an extra order of spinach please?”, is something I’ve said many times!”
And a little bit of advice from me…
To be honest, I usually I go straight for the sides! I loveeee sides at restaurants – they normally have delicious roasted/steamed veggie dishes with a variety of my fave veggies. I also love the simplicity of a green salad and steamed greens in olive oil and rock salt. I avoid sides that are heavy in vegetable oil/butter, potatoes/rice and instead I go for the GREEN stuff – I adore roasted brussels sprouts, steamed broccoli, roasted carrots and sweet potato as sides to accompany my mains.
I then head to the main meal options on the menu and I look for a grilled/steamed/roasted protein option (fish/chicken/meat). I do prefer to eat organic chicken/meat and sustainably caught fish – so I usually ask the waiter where the protein comes from. I also love lentil based dishes when I feel like a meat free meal…
Remember, everything in moderation! Treat yourself once in a while and your body and mind will thank you! Plus restaurants can be the most fun way to discover new foods and cuisines! Happy exploring xo