Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How to Hack Restaurant Remorse

One of the biggest challenges to maintaining a healthy diet is going out to eat. Let's face it. Restaurant food doesn't exactly scream, "Eat me and I'll make you thin!" In fact, it's probably closer to something like, "Eat me and I'll make you fat ... muah hahahaha (evil laugh)."

It's time to take back your seat at the booth and enjoy some time away from your own kitchen every now and then. With a few tips in your pocket — and a little extra cash — you can enjoy restaurant food just like those crazies who could care less about clean eating.

Mexican Restaurants

Look for something that that has a lean protein (pollo, carne, bistec, etc) with vegetables (vegetales). Ask for no cheese or oil. Opt for a ranchero sauce or salsa instead of anything cream-based. Corn tortillas over flour tortillas, and if you can skip them all together, even better. Steer clear of the rice and beans, and add a side salad with pico de gallo instead. Ask for celery or carrots to dip in salsa instead of chips, or another option would be to ask them to remove the chips all together.

Italian Restaurants

Watch out for the bread served here. If you desperately want some, give yourself one piece and order a salad or soup to begin your meal while everyone else is chowing down on empty calories. Ask for light dressing to be tossed if served family style. Look for items on the menu like broth soups (not cream-based), chicken (grilled or baked) or fish (grilled or baked). Steer clear of anything breaded or blackened. Choose marinara over alfredo, and try to fluff up your meal with as many vegetables as possible. Ask that your meal be cooked with little to no oil. Use balsamic vinegar when necessary.

Asian Restaurants

The sauces served with entrees at Asian restaurants are probably your worst offender because in general, these options are pretty safe. If it's something other than brown, garlic or teriyaki sauce, ask for it on the side, and then dip your bites into the sauce. Choose brown rice over white, and opt for more vegetables if you can. Steamed chicken is better than any other kind, and confirm it's white meat only.


Be weary of anything fried, blackened, crispy or breaded. Ask your server how things are prepared and if there's any cheese or oil it's tossed in. When ordering sides, go for the steamed veggies, and to flavor it up, ask for a side of one or more of the following: balsamic vinegar, salsa, marinara sauce, mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, ranchero sauce, salsa verde, buffalo wing sauce or Sriracha sauce. Ask if "turkey" burgers are all-white meat or not. When ordering burgers or sandwiches, remove half the bun/bread or ask for it to be served within lettuce wraps or atop lettuce. If you have an option, try the bison burger. ;)


First of all, don't fall for the whole "It's a salad; it must be healthy," scheme restaurants tend to push. Many salads can total up to as many if not more calories as burgers, pastas, etc. That being said, you can totally get your greens made just like you like it with a ton of flavor. Find a salad option that will require the fewest tweaks. Something with a lean protein and mostly veggies. It's best to ask the server to remove any cheese, croutons, fried onions/noodles, and bring the nuts and dressing on the side. If you forget to do everything but the last part — dressing on the side — you'll still save a TON of unnecessary calories.


Some studies show that slurping soup before your meal can help you feel full quicker, which means you ingest less calories and avoid over-eating. Look for broth soups filled with vegetables and lean protein. Be cautious of tomato soups, cream-of-____ soups, and anything with cheese.


Fix your eyes on the omelette that has the most veggies in the description. Think peppers, tomatoes, onions, spinach, mushrooms, etc. Order it with egg whites or egg substitute instead of regular eggs, and ask for the cheese on the side (or skip it all together). Don't put any ham or turkey in there because you'll get enough protein from the eggs themselves. Be sure to tell the server to use little to no oil. If you're really hungry, ask for a cup of oatmeal and/or fruit to go with it.

Fruit Parfaits

There are few things that I order straight off the menu, and a fruit parfait still ain't one of them. You'll be better off ordering a cup or bowl of fruit and a side of fat-free or light yogurt. Mix it together yourself and sprinkle a little stevia or no-calorie sweetener on your own, and you'll probably shave off 100-200 empty calories.


I don't know about you, but a meal is not complete unless my tongue has tasted both the savory and the sweet. Instead of devouring the piece of cake or milk shake, order a side of fruit and a coffee or tea. Better yet, prepare something sweet at home and have it waiting on you. Don't know what to make? I've got a TON of recipes here on my blog or on my Instagram. Save the restaurant desserts for your next treat meal.

For more health and wellness tips, follow me on social media and view my 'Services' tab above. Please like, share and comment on this post. I'm on Pinterest, so pin it. I'm on YouTube, so go watch my videos. ;)

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