Healthy(ish) Eating Out

Eating Out.jpg

Whether it's fast food while on the go, or enjoying a nice meal with friends, eating out can be can be challenging. With very few exceptions, meals out will always contain more calories, sugar, fat, and larger portions than the controlled cooking environments of our home. 

Here are a few tips to help you stay healthy(ish) when necessity or choice take your meals outside the home.

CASUAL DINING:
#1)  AVOID SAUCES, GO FOR SPICES.
Dishes smothered in sauces will have very high fat and sugar contents (spaghetti sauce, ketchup, Alfredo, etc...).  Ask them to hold the sauce or opt for a dry rub, seasoned baked dish. 
Example:
Chicken Alfredo - 1,440 cal, 82g fat, 103g carbs, 40-50g protein
Cajun Grilled Chicken Dinner w/veggie sides: 500 cal, 17g fat, 31 carbs, 51 protein

#2)  SWAP IN HEALTHIER CARBS
Breads, bagels, white potatoes, and most sides are full of starchy, hollow carbs. If given the option, swap them out for the seasonal vegetable, a sweet potato version, or a bowl of soup.

#3)  DRINK WATER
I know, I know, you think I have a vendetta against coffee, alcoholic beverages, beer, wine, sodas, and anything else fun and tasty - I don't. But, if I had a nickel for every time someone said to me, "I want to lose weight, but I'm not willing to give up my daily/nightly/weekend _______." I'd have so many nickels. The reality is water is better for your waistline and wallet. 
Please do not send hate mail, frowny face emojis or articles claiming _______ has been found to be actually healthy for you. I'm just trying to help.  :)

FAST FOOD:
#1)  DON'T EAT FAST FOOD
Just kidding. There are a lot of places where you can customize your items and end up with a healthyish, macro-fitting meal.

#2)  INCREASE PROTEIN TO CARB RATIO
You can apply this general principle to any eating scenario, really. When possible, add extra proteins and reduce the carbs.
Examples:
Subway: Footlong Turkey Sub: add bacon, add avocado, double the meat, halve/no mayo, halve/no cheese, add extra veggies.  
Chipotle: Chicken Bowl: double the meat, halve the rice, halve the beans, halve/no cheese, add avocado, add stir-fry veggies, use salsa instead of sour cream.
Burger Joints: Make it a double, but keep a single slice of cheese.  If possible, add bacon, avocado, A FRIED EGG, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, skip the ketchup or bbq sauces. Do sweet potato fries if available or skip fries and go for a chili or side salad.

In each of these scenarios, the carb grams stayed the same (or went up with healthy vegetable carbs) while the proteins went through the roof, creating a substantially better carb/protein/fat macro ratio.  

Learning to eat heathy is about making small, simple changes. Over the course of the day, week, month, the little changes add up to fewer calories, fat, sugar, and an overall healthier lifestyle.

Do you have any healthy eating out tips? Post them in the comments section.

Clay StevensComment