If you’re on a diet or just trying to eat healthier in general, these are 6 easy ways to modify a menu when you’re out.
- Ordering discreetly. Let’s say you’re at a big dinner with 5-10 friends. You don’t want to be like, “IS YOUR PASTA GLUTEN FREE??” Then everyone around you wants to talk about your diet. My trick is to call the waiter over and pretend like you have a question on the menu. They’ll walk over and look- that’s when you can be like, “Listen, I’m vegan, can you do _____?” It’s getting so much more common for everyone to want to eat healthy, so most of the time people are aware of this and are super willing to help.
- Getting sauce on the side. This depends on what kind of diet you’re on, but one thing about eating out that can make it really unhealthy is all the sauce they use to flavor the food. Asking for the sauce, dressing…anything on the side lets you control how much goes into it.
- Dilute everything with lemon. Lemon is so flavorful, has no calories and is alkaline, so it’s a win-win all around. Asking for a lot of lemon is not just great to put in your food, but also to dilute the sauce that you got on the side! You don’t have to only put lemon on a salad- get the dressing on the side, pour a little bit out and squeeze a bunch of lemon in there. Now, a little bit of the dressing goes a long way. Only putting a spoonful of the dressing on a salad, you won’t get it on all of your veggies…but if it’s diluted, you can pour it all over the whole dish. This way, you’re getting the benefits of lemon and also half the fat (and usually chemicals and calories) that comes with the salad dressing they brought you.
- Order a bunch of sides. This tip is definitely great for vegans or vegetarians. A lot of sides = one meal. One of my favorite restaurants in LA is a steakhouse. They have amazing steamed broccoli, steamed spinach, mushrooms, potatoes, salad…I end up getting this whole assortment of food! Trust me, everyone else at the table will be jealous because you have more variety than them, so it makes dinner more fun anyway :).
- Add veggies to everything. This is less about restricting and more about adding. I think too much of “health” or dieting is deciding what you CAN’T eat. What about all the things you’re missing out on? We need food to survive, food is medicine…so you have to make sure you’re also getting enough veggies. Veggies are pretty much a free food (no matter what diet you’re on). I get a side of veggies with almost anything I order: pasta, stir fry, soup…I even do it on a cold salad- the combo of cooked and cold is actually really good and makes it more substantial. You can do this anywhere. Any restaurant that doesn’t have any vegetables, I would question.
- Picking the right sauces. If you’re at an Italian restaurant, always go for the red sauce vs. the white sauce- those use more cream bases, and cream is so heavy, so high in fat (and not the kind of fat we want). Getting a red sauce cuts the calories, and cooked tomatoes are even better than they are raw.
You have to make sure that you’re living your normal life or your diet won’t be sustainable. If you don’t feel like you can do a diet for more than 6 months, my suggestion would be to not do it at all. If that’s the way you lost the weight, it might be hard to sustain it after that. Try using these tips and tricks next time you’re out and you won’t ever feel like you’re dieting.