Wednesday, April 6, 2011

You can't eat healthy when you eat out? Sure you can!

A client and friend of mine recently told me she didn't want to accompany her husband to his favorite restaurant, Outback, because she 'couldn't eat anything healthy there'.  To which I challenged her because I eat healthy there....and for that fact everywhere anytime I venture out for a meal.

I don't eat out often - for the simple fact that restaurants add a LOT of junk into food that doesn't need to be there:  butter, sugar, heavy cream, lard and sodium to name a few.  Most think they are eating 'healthy' by choosing chicken dishes and the like but more often than not, you aren't.

A fellow trainer said many of his clients say the same, 'but I can't eat healthy there so I just ordered something bad.'  Well never again.  You MUST become an educated consumer if you have a fitness goal you are trying to reach.  If you turn a blind eye to food labels and restaurant food - you will never get there.

I try to only eat out once every few weeks but when the occasion arises, I always check the restaurants website before going.  This is imperative if you want to make good choices.  Almost all restaurants have websites and nutrition information...and what you will find will shock you!  Grilled chicken sandwiches at Chili's for 1300 calories?  88 grams of fat in chicken fajitas at Applebee's?  Yessir!

So here is my biggest tip:  When eating out - DON'T ORDER OFF THE MENU!  What?  Yup....Order a dish and alter it.  For example: Outback.  Order the Atlantic Salmon dish - dry - no butter or oil just the salmon grilled.  Order steamed veggies (which they offer as a side dish) and a baked sweet potato dry and viola!  You have turned a 760 calorie and 51 gram of fat dish into a 415 calorie and 22 grams of fat (with no trans fat and only 2.5g of saturated). 

It's all in how and what you order.  With all the food allergies and intolerance out there these days, most chef's and cooks are accustomed to making changes.  You should never feel bad for making changes.  You are the consumer.

I am known to make up my own salads when nothing on the menu will suffice.  For example - recently at a sports bar, everything was calorie ladden and choc full of fat.  So I ordered grilled chicken on salad greens with tomatoes and a side of broccoli and side of salsa.  Combine it all and you have a nice, filling, healthy salad.

Your friends want to go out for Hibachi?  Perfect!  But you don't have to take part in the buttery fried rice with fried eggs and oil to boot - order steamed brown rice instead (they all offer it) and ask the Hibachi chef to please not add extra oil and sugary teryaki sauces to your meat and veggies. 

It's simple really - just order foods that you would cook at home for your healthy lifestyle.

Do I ever cheat?  Sure - but when I think about consuming 88 grams of fat (3 days worth), 1300 calories (almost a days worth) and quadruple the amount of FDA recommended sodium a day in ONE's just not worth it to me.  So I make different choices and still feel that satisfaction of eating something off my meal plan. 

Food for thought.

Happy Eating!

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