When you find yourself out at a restaurant with your family or friends there are some very easy diet hacks you can do to stay on track. Here they are, in all of their glory:
1. Opt for a Grilled Protein Portion
This is pretty simple but you want to look for healthy protein options. Examples might be grilled shrimp, steak, chicken (that means not breaded and fried), seared ahi tuna, etc. Basically you want to look for lean proteins that aren’t fried in oil, or covered in breading or cheese. This is step number one and it gets relatively easy once you’ve got this covered.
2. Load up on Veggies
You don’t have to order a grilled chicken salad if that’s too boring for you, but you also don’t have to dedicate 50% of your plate to french fries because you don’t like salad. Ask for a side of steamed or grilled veggies (eggplant, peppers, onions, zucchini) instead of a half pound of fried potatoes. This is where a lot of people get lost, but most restaurants offer really creative vegetable sides as alternative to fries, mashed potatoes, or rice. Find what works for you. An example would be ordering a filet mignon with a side of grilled mixed greens.
3. Choose the Best Carbohydrate Exchange
We have our lean protein and our vegetables, now we can look for a fun carbohydrate option. Of course, stealing a few fries off of your friend’s plate isn’t the end of the world, but when you look at your plate try to choose complex carbohydrates. Look for a baked potato option, brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, whole grain dinner rolls or squash. The point is to avoid massive portions of pasta, white rice, and other low cost “fillers” that restaurants use to pump up your plate but offer little value to you other than massive quantities of carbs.
4. Choose Your Booze
I’ll keep this short. If you order a cocktail that’s bright and colorful, it probably has a ton of sugar. Get a glass of wine, a light beer, or a vodka club instead and avoid those useless calories.
I threw this meal together using whatever I could find at my job’s cafeteria!