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Eating Out, the Smart Way

Hi everyone!! I've been so busy with school, work, and training that I've barely had time to sleep! So, sorry for the delayed post :) Today, I wanted to touch on smart choices when eating out.

I use to avoid eating out like the plague! I would even avoid social situations because I thought any restaurant food was going to make me fat. It does not have to be like that! There is also a common myth that if you eat a salad when you go out, you are eating healthy. However, most restaurant salads have the same amount of calories as a cheese burger! Over the years I've found a few go-to places with healthy items and I've also followed a few rules when it comes to eating out.

Whole Foods Soft Tacos
My go-to places:
Subway has good salad options and their 6" Italian bread isn't loaded with carbs! Beware of the sauces or cheese you add on because they can pack on the calories. At Pei-Wei you can order the meat "stock velveted" aka not fried and you can get the sauce on the side to avoid all the added sugars. Panda Express has re-done their menu to show calories and they have options that aren't fried. I always get a grilled option (no sauce on the Teriyaki chicken) with half brown rice and half steamed veggies. The chow mein and fried rice are fat/carb/calorie packed. Whole Foods and Sprouts always have lots of good, healthy options. I love Whole Foods salad bar if you're looking for the organic approach. I'm usually not a fan of Chipotle but lately it's been sounding good. I really like that they have food with integrity (check out what I'm talking about here), they try to use local produce, and avoid hormones/pesticides in their food. The salad is the best way to go. I load mine with veggies, chicken, salsa, a little bit of guacamole (you'll have to scoop some off, they give you a lot), and rice on the side without dressing. So good! Chick-Fil-A also has really good options and good quality grilled chicken! Their grilled chicken nuggets are the best. If you have more time and you're looking for sit down restaurants with good options I suggest Chili's, Applebee's, BJ's, and Genghis Grill. These four places have awesome healthy options. However, most places now have healthy, low-cal menu options and a lot of them have nutrient facts online.

Panda Express
My eating out tips:
  1. Ask for veggies and rice to be steamed, meats to be grilled, and ask to not have anything cooked in butter. These are a few simple cooking tips that you can request at most restaurants to avoid added calories and bad fats.
  2. Beware of fat sources. A lot of meals have multiple sources of fats that really pack on the calories. For example, a cobb salad traditionally has lettuce, turkey, bacon, boiled eggs, avocado, cheese, and balsamic. Bacon is a fatty meat, the yolk in an egg is a fat, cheese has some bad fat, avocado is a fat, and most balsamic dressings also carry a lot of fat. I typically skip the bacon and cheese because they contain more unhealthy fats. I keep the egg for protein, the avocado for good fat, and I'll switch to olive oil and vinegar for dressing because it's also a good fat! Sometimes I keep the cheese in my salads because who doesn't like cheese :) I'll just pick some of it out so it's not so overloaded.
  3. Avoid hidden sugars. Sugar can cause you so many health problems and it is hidden everywhere. I always avoid dried fruits and candied nuts in my salads because they are packed with sugar. I also prefer to skip normal salad dressings and instead use oil and vinegar because vinegar doesn't have calories and olive oil is a good fat. Also beware of sauces and try to get them on the side so you can control your intake.
  4. Pick a good quality carb. The quality of the carbs you're eating, matters. When it comes to salads, I prefer fruits as my carbs instead of croutons or wonton strips.  I like having soft corn tacos for lunch, red potatoes and sweet potatoes are a good choice, steamed rice, or some of the lower carb breads at Subway.
  5. Watch your portions! American restaurants really load up your plate when you go out to eat so be mindful of when you're full. I try to skip the chips and bread at the beginning of the meal because they always fill me up and then I don't enjoy my actual main course!
  6. Enjoy yourself. If you go out to eat and you want a burger, have a burger and enjoy it! Everything in moderation. I don't believe in set "cheat meals" (I'll have a post on that later on) but I do believe that every once in awhile if you really want something, have it. That's healthy for you too.
I hope this helps! As always, feel free to contact me with any questions because I'm always happy to answer them :)

katie lynn

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