I do it, you do it, I have clients that do it daily. What do we do? We eat out at restaurants. Whether it is for business or pleasure learning to navigate your way through a restaurant menu can be a big step to increasing your health and wellness.

Part of my job as a nutritionist is to create/build menu plans for my clients. This plan always includes an “out to eat” section. This section is short, simple and to the point. When eating out, unless it is a special occasion like an anniversary, birthday, etc., I encourage my clients to think about their health and their goals when ordering. So here is what I tell them.

Step 1:
Order grilled chicken or fish and ask for it to be prepared with no oil. All to often restaurants use rancid/poor quality canola oil to cook with. This is bad on several levels so avoid it. You can add salsa to the protein if you happen to be at a Tex-Mex place.

Step 2:
Ask your server what vegetables the chef has in the kitchen, then ask to have 2 servings steamed. Even if it is not “on the menu” your server will get it done for you. Just be sure to ask nicely and don’t demand.

Step 3:
Ask for a side of Extra Virgin Olive Oil “EVOO” for a healthy fat. Even better if you are somewhere that has avocado or guacamole you can add it to the steamed vegetables with salt and have a version of my “creamy vegetables”.

Order a BIG-A salad… Meaning ask the server to throw any fresh vegetable they have on top of their normal salad and add grill chicken or fish. Again, even if it’s not on the menu they will do it for you. If you are at Tex-Mex add salsa & guac for the dressing. If not at Tex-Mex, get EVOO & balsamic vinegar for the dressing.

If you are an endurance athlete and your “eating out” meal happens to be lunch, add 1/2 -1 cup white rice, quinoa, sweet potato or couscous to your meal. If you are eating out for dinner then stick to a protein, several veggies and a healthy fat.

There you have it. Not overcomplicated, just simple and to the point. However, I can’t end this without saying that I am in full support of going out to eat and ordering whatever the heck you want. What I recommend though, is that you make your “splurge/cheat” meal at lunchtime. This way you have ample time to digest the meal and move a little before bed. If you eat a big unhealthy meal at night you may not digest the food, won’t sleep well and can possibly feel the negative effects the next day. So eat your pizza and cake at lunch then go for an easy 20-30 minute walk. If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear from you so leave them below.

To Your Health,
Coach Mo

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