Tip #1: Watch out For Those Sides!
Order veggies, a salad or fruit as a side. Stay away from french fries or heavy cream dressings. Chances are one of your dinner companions will order fries and you can satisfy a craving by politely asking for a couple of their fries (or stealing a few when they're not looking). Now when I go to subway I always get a side of apples instead of chips. They aren't organic and apples have higher pesticide residue on them, but its still a better choice for me than chips or a cookie.
I turned my cheat meal into 1/2 of a cheat meal. I devoured the mixed grill but didn't even finish my burger! Now that's a first! The restaurtant also uses fresh never frozen pure ground beef.
Tip #2: Find local "fast food" restaurants where you can find better choices.
I go to Subway but actually prefer this sandwich shop called That Salad Place. They have a menu which lists items that are under 500 calories and it includes the nutrition information on that menu. There are also local restaurants that pride themselves on using fresh, grass fed local beef, real cheese, etc. Find the restaurants that have a mission to support their local community and use fresh local produce and veggies. Stick to family or independent owned restaurants when possible. Another great resources is your local food cooperative. They are a quick and easy way to get a fresh healthy sandwich, salad or soup! I go to a coffee shop that has almond milk as a choice. The more we as consumers demand these options, the more they will become available.
Mixed veggie panini on wheat bread with mozzarella cheese.
For cheese I usually go with feta, goat or mozzarella
Tip #3: Take Advantage of Your Community's Resources
Our local community's hospital has a program where foods that meet their standards and are under 500 calories can be labeled as such and often there are separate menus or pamphlets with the nutritional information per items. This makes counting calories a breeze when you can eat out and actually know what you're consuming. My local community also has a farmer's market challenge and other weight loss challenges. See if your health department has any similar programs to make eating out easier.
Sometimes when I'm not having such a healthy meal I don't even want to track it in My Fitness Pal, a free app I've used for months on my phones to track all the calories I'm eating. Sometimes I don't want to log it and go over my calories for the day, but I tell myself that I'm only cheating myself! If I go over my calories for that day, I just need to deal with it and eat less the next day or workout. You can use My Fitness Pal to look up the calories and nutrition information in you food as well.
Great Article about eating/drinking at Starbucks and what to avoid:
Tip #5: Eat Full Fat, Full Flavor
This seems the opposite of common sense when on a diet and trying to watch calories and fat intake. I'm loving clean eating because I feel like I'm constantly eating and I'm eating high calorie high fat foods such as avocado, peanut butter, almonds, cashews, dark chocolate, olive oil, eggs and more. When you eat full fat healthy foods, you are fuller longer. This limits my snacking and my unhealthy choices throughout the day. If you look at the ingredients in low fat or fat free products, they often add sodium or sugar.
Tip #6: Plan Ahead
Pick a place to go ahead of time and look up their menu online. Or you can all the manager to ask about their nutrition information and where they buy their product from. I'm also a person who needs to eat when I need to eat and I feel like I'm going crazy when I'm hungry. This often leads to poor choices. I've instead started packing and planning ahead, including eating right before I'm going to meet someone for a meal. I'll pack some almonds, a kind granola bar or some fruit and eat it before meeting them. I haven't bought an appetizer since doing this!
Subway Nutritional Facts: http://www.subway.com/Nutrition/Files/usProdIngredients.pdf
This is why Subway is now a "cheat" meal for me:
Ingredients in 9-GRAIN WHEAT bread.
Enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, yeast, whole wheat flour, sugar, contains 2% or less of the following: wheat gluten, oat fiber, soybean oil, wheat bran, salt, wheat, rye, yellow corn, oats, triticale, brown rice, barley, flaxseed, millet, sorghum, yeast nutrients (calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate), vitamin D2, dough conditioners (DATEM, sodium stearoyl lactylate, potassium iodate, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide), caramel color, refinery syrup, honey, yeast extract, natural flavor, enzymes. Contains wheat.
- not whole wheat, but "enriched" wheat, better than bleached, not better than whole wheat
- thiamine mononitrate = synthetic Vitamin B, may cause allergic reaction
- carmel color = possible carcinogen
- natural flavor = flavors made in a lab that mimic the flavors of real food, these leave you wanting more and actually make you more likely to eat more since your getting a fraction of a taste of the real thing
- Pure raw sugar is clean and is preferred to aspartame and other fake sugars, but it's still important to limit it
- Soybean oil = okay in small amounts, issues regarding the effects of soy on hormones have been more prominent lately. I try to avoid soy and soy products. May be an issue if you have peanut allergies.
- ammonium sulfate = most often used in FERTILIZER
- yellow corn = likely genetic modified organism (GMO)
- triticale = wheat/rye hybrid made in a lab, careful with gluten and wheat allergies!
- sulfites = preservative
- dough conditioners = perservatives and additives (azodicarbonamide = primarily used in production of PLASTICS, potassium iodate = salt )
Tip #7: Use Actual Natural Flavors
When ordering a salad, I ask for lemon and lime slices and I'm sure to order a salad with onions. I drizzle the lemon and lime over for a dressing and sometimes add olive oil, vinaigrette and black pepper. Push the salt shaker away and use healthy foods and spices for flavor. At Subway now that they have avocado for the summer I don't even need a dressing. Otherwise, I will ask for a tiny bit of olive oil, onions and black pepper. Your tastes will change and processed dressings and too much salt will actually start to be unappealing. And I LOVE salty fried foods...or did!
Tip #8: Order Whole Wheat or Grains
Ask for brown rice, whole wheat or oat bread instead of white breads and grains. Order red potatoes instead of regular potatoes. These will keep you fuller and are heart healthy@
Drink some water & have some fish oil along with a salad!
Tip #9: Switch out Your Drinks
Order water with lemon or unsweetened iced tea with lemon. I rely on lemon and honey a lot to add flavor to my drinks. I will admit it takes some time to get use to, but I'm getting more and more use to less sweet foods. I started out slow and limited myself to 1 tablespoon pure sugar, then I would add chocolate almond milk or honey instead. Now I can drink my coffee plain or with unsweetened almond milk. I can now also drink unsweetened iced tea which use to just be kind of gross. If you're not quite ready, ask for a 1/2 and 1/2 mixture or if you're going to add sugar be sure to use actual real sugar and not packets of death. Avoid alcoholic drinks. The plan I'm on, I'm allowed 2 per week which isn't a problem at all since I usually drink none. But I had a couple pina coladas this week with a friend and I didn't feel bad about it one bit!
Tip #10: Check Ingredient Lists for Chain Restaurants
Sometimes I'm craving a sub or something even worse. I do a google search and just looking at the sheer number of ingredients in the food, the amount of preservatives, "natural flavors" which are actually lab created, dyes, and other ickies turns my stomach. IN the article from food babe linked, above she writes that "the Reduced Fat Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake [at Starbucks] has over 75 ingredients"! When was the last time you, your mom or grandma went to bake a cake and said ooop I just need to add these SEVENTY FIVE ingredients!! C'mon people! Lets not put up with anymore. Knowledge is power!
I'm still far from perfect and far from making 100% healthy clean eating choices, but these are the tips I use to keep myself on track. Again, have a realistic plan. Eating clean 80% of the time with three allowed cheat meals is a workable plan for me and the proof is in the pudding, I'm down 13 pounds in 2 months and ecstatic about it!
What is your favorite place to eat out? How do you stay on track? Leave me a comment and let me know! Also don't forget to follow me on Instagram to see my food choices, recipes and weightloss updates first! @Intrubeauty