Happy Saturday, everyone! I hope it’s been good to you so far 🙂
Mine started off with a visit to the local farmers market RIGHT OUTSIDE MY HOUSE. Yes, you read that correctly. Well, if you want to get technical I live in a condo, but that’s entirely unrelated. The point is is that I walk out my door straight into a hub of local produce, fresh baked goods, original art, the list goes on.
It was simply fabulous.
I cannot wait for more foods to be in season. Hurry up, Canada!
Later, I met up with some friends for lunch at Earls, where I had a simple caesar salad. I got the dressing on the side, because I notice that restaurants tend to give you a side of lettuce with your dressing when you don’t. Normally I would get something a bit more substantial, but I was snacking all morning long and wasn’t in the mood for a super-heavy lunch!
Today is day 2 of my own little intuitive eating challenge. Instead of painstakingly planning out every meal according to the perfect ratio of carbs, proteins, and fats, I’m trying my damn hardest to just go with the flow. It does help that I have some slightly good motivation: A month long Europe trip this summer! I simply refuse to be controlled by food while I am gone, so I am really getting tough on myself with beating this. Anyway, only a week ago the idea of improper meals and untracked carbs would have made me run for cover. However, I’m actually managing quite well today, which I consider a HUGE victory! Eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full. It sounds so simple, but can be so so hard. Can anyone relate?
I’m so ready for this.
BEYOND ready for this.
Anyway, that was a tangent! Today I wanted to talk about eating healthy at restaurants. It’s so easy to order the bacon wrapped bison burger with melted brie and a side of yam fries. It sounds completely tantalizing, yes? And while I 100% advocate treating yourself on occasion, doing that every time you eat out may not be the best for your health.
I was one to completely shy away from eating out for a very long time. I just refused to go. The unknown salt, oil, and ingredients in the food terrified me, and I missed out on a lot of social opportunities because of it. The fact is, our society socializes over food. You run into an old friend at the grocery store – “Let’s go for lunch!” You plan a wonderful Mother’s Day – “Let’s have brunch!” It’s somebody’s birthday – “We can go out to dinner!” Eating out in this day and age happens frequently, and it’s important to be able to enjoy this while still enjoying your health. Now, I am by no means an expert, but these are the tips I have gathered in my quest to become more comfortable eating at restaurants, and I hope they can help some of you too.
1. A salad is not always a salad. Okay, technically it is. But at restaurants, a salad often has next to no nutrition value compared to one made at home. Heavy dressings, processed nuts and lots of cheese will cancel out the good you’re doing getting in a couple of cups of spinach. Sad, I know. But luckily, there are ways to get through it. First off, I always order dressing on the side. No, it doesn’t make you look like a dieter. It makes you look smart. I prefer to taste my vegetables, thank you very much. Secondly, watch out for ingredients such as “candied nuts”. It sounds healthy, but often these are calorie & fat bombs in disguise. My best tip if you want a salad is to get the house salad. It sounds boring, and it is if you just leave it like that. However, many restaurants will allow you to add things like chicken or fish, and you can complement that with a moderate amount of dressing. Everybody wins 🙂
2. Change it up! I personally love the Earls cajun chicken cheddar sandwich. However, when you get it exactly how it comes, it can leave you feeling full and bloated. I prefer to take off one slice of bread, usually the one with most of the sauce. The taste is preserved, and so is your waistline/health. Don’t feel like you have to eat a meal exactly how it is on the menu or served to you. You can always ask the waiter to make some adjustments, and if they say no, fix it yourself. Eat less cheese, etc. Make it work.
*Gasp!* Was that a bite of lettuce I just tasted?!
3. Divide & Conquer. No, I do not mean enlist your BFF’s and corner the waiter. Although, that’s a post for another day 😉 Divide up your food! Restaurants often serve entrees three times the size a normal person needs, so people feel like they are getting their money’s worth. I know everybody says, ignore half of your plate, but it’s just so true! Better yet, to avoid wasting, ask for a half or lunch-sized portion so it’s not there glaring at you.
4. Relax. I know I was just giving you a bunch of common-knowledge tips about eating healthy, but the fact is is that one time eating half a pizza is not going to kill you. Neither is a whole pizza, or some pasta and cake. As long as it’s occasional, and not the regular, everything is within reason.
I truly hope this helped just one person, and that everybody enjoys their Saturday night!
Story of my life.