Eating healthy plant-based is a breeze when we are preparing our own meals! (check out these free downloads to help simplify your healthy eating life)
But, at a restaurant, it can be tricky to figure out healthy options and to make sure that your meal doesn’t have any products that you don’t want.
Social eating and date nights out are part of our culture, and so fun! So we shouldn’t (and don’t need to) avoid them in an effort to eat healthier!
You should NEVER miss out on an event because of your health and weight loss goals.
INSTEAD, try these strategies to keep the progress going, while enjoying your favorite restaurants with your favorite people!
Check the menu ahead of time and go in with a plan!
It can be super helpful to scope out the menu online ahead of time. That way, you can avoid that flustered nervous feeling when it comes time to order. Have a plan for your healthy, plant-based choice before you get there. It makes it so much easier to say no to temptations if you walk in with the decision already made.
If you’re following and plant-based flexible dieting program, then you can pick a meal that will fit your calories for the day, and balance it out in earlier meals but adding in extra servings of veggies or protein. There can be space for indulgences when you plan appropriately, know what your goals are for that day, and know how to meet them in a variety of situations.
Find hidden veg options in the side dishes
This is where steamed veggies, side salads, rice, baked potatoes, and other healthy plant based options are hiding. You can bulk up your meal with these or even choose a couple to create a whole meal! I do this all the time, and find that it is a much more satisfying and healthy way to get a vegan meal at a restaurant.
Try to create meals that are similar to what you would make at home
Keep in mind the ratios that you learned in the Fat Loss Meal Building Map, and look for a similar amount for veggies, a serving of protein, a whole source of starch and a serving of healthy fat, so that your restaurant meal is still on track for your healthy goals.
Order without cheese, and ask about cooking oils
There is usually a vegetarian-friendly option on the menu. These are usually easy to modify by simply ordering without cheese, butter, or other dairy products (why is there cheese on everything!?). Servers are really receptive to these kinds of requests because of the prevalence of food allergies these days. Sometimes they will even ask if you have an allergy. I often say “no, but a very strong dairy-free preference”, which opens up the conversation about cooking oils.
It’s important to ask about cooking oils because restaurants sometimes use an oil/butter blend that has milk in it. They should be able to answer about what kind of oil is used, and if not, it is perfectly reasonable to ask them to go check. To avoid it all together, go for options that are steamed or boiled (like veggies, pasta, and rice).
Always communicate in a smiley, friendly way
It simply makes the conversation more comfortable for everyone which actually makes communication clearer. It is perfectly fine for you to ask all the questions you need to and to request your food to be free of animal products, and you should feel empowered to do so. Keeping the tone of the conversation friendly, though, helps to clarify what you are saying.
Always feel empowered to ask for exactly what you want. Your goals are that important, and are worth being spoken up for.
Want to indulge? DO it! Own it and ENJOY it!
Sometimes, our bodies and souls need a good treat meal! And that is OK!
In the long run, it will help you to adhere to your plan better… as long as it isn’t a sign of a bigger problem like a restrictive cycle or using food as a numbing device.
If this meal is going to be a treat meal, make the decision and enjoy every bite! Savor it, enjoy the company, and accept that this meal may be off plan. Then the next day, get right back on plan- no extra restriction or punishment as a result. Keep meals like this to an occasional treat, and you will still make consistent progress toward your goals.
I am a firm believer that a healthy diet should be part of your overall healthy lifestyle… and so should enjoying meals out with people you love! They don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Use these strategies to make your restaurant meals work within your plan to keep the progress going!
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