You’re sitting at a local Chinese restaurant close to work when panic hits. The waiter hands you the menu and you open it anxiously reading it in search of the healthiest option.
You read it over and over..
Chicken fried rice
Barbeque ribs with rice
You start to sweat.
You recently committed to eating healthier and you want to stay on track, but right now you have no idea what to order. You think, “fuck it, this is waayyy toooo hard. I go out to lunch all the time there is no way I can eat healthy.”
You are not doomed. You do not have to throw in the towel.
There is a strategy that works. One that you can use to stay on track and that is supportive of your fitness goals, even in the most dire of situations, like a Chinese restaurant. Ha! And that is what I want to share with you today.
By the way, if you were wondering if you’re the only person this happens to, you’re DEFINITELY not. By far the question I get asked the most by my one-on-one coaching clients is, “What do I eat when I go out to a restaurant (especially when all options seem unhealthy)?”
So here are 2 solutions you can use when in a crunch.
1) Choose Salad with a Protein
Almost all restaurants (even Chinese) offer some sort of salad either as an appetizer or a main dish.
Pick a salad that comes with a protein like steak, chicken, or fish. If there isn’t a protein listed with the salad, ask your waiter if you can add one.
Salads that are mostly veggies, greens, and protein will be your most nutrient dense, waistline friendly choices. Think Chicken Cobb, Barbecue Chicken, or Kale Salad with Wild Salmon.
Try to avoid salads with loads of fruit, nuts, and lettuce only. Always ask for dressing on the side so you can add to your liking.
2) Choose Protein With A Veggie
Choose any of the main entrees that are grilled, broiled, or sautéed chicken, fish or beef.
Sub out whatever sides come with the entree for veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, or carrots.
If veggies and a mashed potato come with the entree, order double veggies and ditch the starchy potato.
You should be able to use 1 of these 2 solutions in 95% of dining out situations.
But in the event you can’t — you are still not doomed! 🙂
First, do your best and choose what entree you believe is the best option.
Then apply these 3 rules while eating.
- Eat Slowly (spend 15-20 minutes eating your food)
- Eat until you feel satisfied, not full or stuffed. Like to an 8 out of 10.
- Eat Protein first, veggies second, and then see how you feel before eating your carbs.
This way, if you’re consuming not the healthiest of meals you can moderate and limit how much you eat in a way that still fills you up.
By the way, the above 3 eating rules are the ideal way to eat all your meals, regardless of what you’re eating. This will help you tune into the signals from your body which is a huge superpower that all fit people seem to have. We’ll dive deeper into this in another post.
Practice these solutions and reap the long term benefits!