Hey Guys! We all have those days where we just REALLY don't want to cook!
Then we have those times in life where your group of friends go out for dinner or drinks, you have family gatherings, or a life celebration - these are all wonderful reasons to enjoy eating out and your loved ones. This is just part of our culture,
and it gives many of us a major case of FOMO. I am here to bring a little sigh of relief to your anxiety with eating out. I've had a few years to really figure out this eating out thing and starting to get the hang of it and thought I would share what I have learned.
Step 1: Research restaurants in your town
Fast-food and large chain restaurants are never good options when trying to stay healthy and eating out, period. They ALL use low quality foods, and unhealthy fats. Even the salads seem to be unhealthy.
Do they have items on the menu that looks sort of close to your diet?
My biggest tip is search for locally ran restaurants, you will have the best luck with food there.
Step 2: What's the food quality like?
Is it fresh, local, frozen, low quality nutrients, etc.? I talk to a manager or a server to find these things out.
9 times out of 10, if its high quality food they are proud to announce it and it will be right there on their menu or website.
Step 3: What's on the menu?
Do the menu items look close to your diet? Find something that looks good based on your dietary boundaries.
Does the meal contain 80% of your diet?
EXAMPLE: I'm about 80% paleo, when I eat out my standards go down to dairy free/gluten free. So I will look for gluten free items on the menu. I feel crazy lucky when I find something fully within my diet!
Step 4: Make alterations to your order.
Do they have GF bread? ask for that instead
Lettuce wrapped burgers are good alternatives
Can they be mindful of cross-contamination
Do they have alternative milks? ask for your favorite one.
Can they steam it instead of fry it?
It comes with a dressing that you can't have, ask for a vinaigrette, or no dressing.
Step 5: Enjoy it and don't feel guilt.
When you don't want to cook, you will now have your go to restaurants that will be able to make your food the way you need it without feeling yucky OR guilt.
Have the expectation in mind that its okay that you are 80/20 on your diet instead of 100% sometimes we just need the easy options in life.
Eating out isn't bad for your diet, its when we go fully outside what we know our bodies can't tolerate that it becomes bad for us.
More and more people these days have to have alterations made to their meals, you are NOT ALONE in this, and restaurants are very used to this now, so don't feel bad.
When NOT to eat out:
When you are in an active flare, or have acute health distress.
When you have made a commitment to your health to be 100% for a certain amount of time.
When you don't have access to "healthy" restaurants to choose from.
If you live in Salem/Portland, OR here are my favorites:
Isaac's, downtown Salem
Bigwig Donuts, downtown Salem
Ritter's, downtown Salem
Bo & Vine, downtown Salem
Amadeus, downtown Salem
Word of Mouth, Salem
Joule Café, Portland
Honey Palette, Portland
Flour and Fern, McMinnville
Collab Kitchen, McMinnville
If you live in Maryville/Knoxville, TN area here are some of my favorites:
Foothills milling co., Maryville
Sullivan's downtown, Maryville
Southern Grace Coffee, Maryville
Benefit your life, Knoxville
Tomato Head, Knoxville
First Watch, Knoxville
Tupelo Honey, Knoxville (sometimes has cross-contamination though)
Cafe 4, Knoxville
Hope this helps those of you who miss eating out! I know it has opened my world back up! Enjoy and happy eating
Amelia Hunt, FNTP