What’s on the Menu?

You’ve been good. You cook your meals every night. You haven’t had to worry about not knowing what to eat because you’ve been so prepared! But then your friends want to get dinner, what do you do!? You can’t say no, it’s been such a long time since you’ve seen them, and you can’t say it’s because of your diet. You aren’t going to eat beforehand and just go and sit there. So what do you do?! How do you possibly stay clean when you eat out?

This is a problem that takes very strong will-power, it’s just oh-so-easy to order that juicy burger off the menu (maybe even some of those cheesy appetizers or fries). Now I can’t tell you not to order whatever you want off of the menu, but I can definitely help learn to see the menu differently so that you’ll be able to eat (and enjoy!)

  1. One of the first things I do before going out is try to find the menu of the restaurant we are going to. This gives me the opportunity to find something I can eat, and I can prepare myself. This way I am not overwhelmed when I get to the restaurant and have to make a quick (often bad) decision.
  2. If I don’t have a chance to look at the menu prior to going to dinner, it gets slightly harder to control that will-power. But what I usually do is start by looking at the salads to see if any of those catch my attention right away. Because if I can find a good salad, then my search is over! Just have to make sure the dressing isn’t too bad, you can’t control what they put in their dressings; most vinaigrette’s are okay, or you can always just ask for oil and vinegar.
  3. Say I don’t see a salad that instantly makes my mouth drool. Then I move right over the the grill section (skip right over any pasta section, if there is one). I usually look for simple chicken or steak dishes. Nothing topped with any fancy sauces. If I can get a nice piece of grilled chicken, I’m golden. Or I will go for a nice steak if I am not in the mood for chicken. I’m always sure to get a side of veggies too. Most places will replace any sides with veggies if you ask them to.
  4. Okay, so nothing from the grill really caught my eye. Now I go to one of my last resort sections of the menu. The burger section, if you’re at a restaurant that has burgers. Now with the burgers, you can look at their specialty burgers, but you know what you can and can’t have. SO! If you’re going with a burger, you have to be slightly complicated for your waiter. You’re going to have to ask for no cheese, no condiment toppings, and NO BUN (Ah! I know!) But you can add as much hot sauce as you want to the top of it! So I will usually get a burger with a lot of veggie toppings, and then just add a bunch of hot sauce and a side of veggies! If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can ask for a couple pieces of iceberg lettuce and use that as your bun.
  5. Lastly, the seafood section of the menu. I am personally not a big seafood person, but I will say that you really can’t go wrong here. Most seafood dishes are going to be clean (Unless you’re getting fish and chips), so I would say, just know what things you can’t have, but you’re pretty safe with any of these dishes.

Now if none of those tips appeal to you, then you may not be able to eat out!! But I know that’s not the case. It’s very hard at first to train yourself to look at the menu through the lens of what is clean and what is not, but over time it gets a lot easier, and then you won’t even think about it! You’ll just pass right over those meals that you can’t eat!

One last quick note that one of my trainers at the gym told me during one of the Paleo challenges. DON’T BE WEIRD! Don’t be the person who brings their own food, or something like that. If there really is nothing on the menu that appeals to you, then get something that you want. Having a little bit of a cheat in a meal once every so often is not going to ruin your weight loss goals (I promise)! But try to keep it as clean as possible. Because I will say that if you go overboard with a cheat meal, you can easily undo everything you did that whole week at the gym and eating healthy! And that WILL throw a wrench in your goals!

On that note! Good luck eating out, and I hope these tips helped! Please feel free to comment and let me know of any other tips you may have.

-R

Eat clean, Lift dirty

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3 thoughts on “What’s on the Menu?

  1. I don’t even really look at the menu anymore when going out. I automatically get a Caesar salad which most places have with either grilled steak or salmon. For a starter I’m a big fan of shrimp cocktail. Not looking at the menu takes a lot of stress off of me when eating out. Please let me know if Caesar salad is a good choice?
    Thank you.

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    • That’s good that you’re immediately going to salads when you go out! That makes it a lot easier to make your decision. The only thing I would say about the Caesar is the dressing. Caesar dressing is not on the healthy side, so I would be cautious with using it. I would recommend a vinaigrette or oil and vinegar

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