Hello, my pretties. *cackles*
Today, I just want to emphasize to you that your schedule should never be the reason you don't become healthier. I already made one Natalyn's Eating Out Tips happen for Olive Garden (which I highly recommend you check out), but today, let's focus on all restaurants in general. Especially those popular franchise ones like Macaroni Grill, Cheesecake Factory, PF Chang's, etcetera.
In such a fast-paced society where, it seems, every inch of our time is taken up doing something, sometimes there's truly no time to make meals at home. When this happens and your coworkers invite you to go socialize with them at the nearest restaurant, don't be worried about cheating on your new lifestyle. Besides, it's good to socialize. ;) Usually, the restaurant staff is very open and friendly about special diet needs.
Oh, and if you're too embarrassed to bother them with that, just follow these easy rules:
* For appetizers, go for fresh and grilled veggies. If you're at a Mexican Restaurant, you can even have fresh tortilla chips, salsa, and guacamole.
* Lots of restaurants put appetizers such as bread on the table before your meal. If you're in the mood to spread something savory on your bread but the only option on the table is butter, ask for a side each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. On your appetizer plate, mix these two ingredients to your taste (I like it to be 2 parts olive oil to 1 part balsamic) and dip your bread in it. Voila! Way more savory - and way healthier - than your average buttery spread.
* Salads are, for the most part, the easiest to make healthier. Go for vinagrette-based salads and ask them to omit the cheese and fatty meat. They still taste amazing without it. Another great salad to go for is Chinese Chicken Salad - all you have to do is remove the chicken and it's lower calorie and still quite delicious! If you really want to use your own dressing, you can bring some in a small tupperware, ask for your favorite salad or a plain garden salad, and then sprinkle your dressing on it.
* Sides can be main courses! The portions in main courses are, many times, far too large for someone to finish, and many times result in the person overeating and feeling horrible about it. What I like to do is go simple - pick a favorite side, a favorite healthy condiment, and you're good to go! For example, at Claim Jumper, I love to order their huge baked potato plain, and then I ask for additional sides such as avocado, black beans, corn, and tomatoes - oh, and vinagrette! Mmmmmmmm.
* I know this is hard, but it's usually best to skip dessert. Maybe order an iced tea or something if you really need something sweet, but usually, restaurants love to put processed sugar, cream and other fatty, unhealthy stuff in their desserts. If you're really craving something bad, you can always ask for a side of fruit. :)
I hope my tips have helped! Remember, it should never be impossible to be healthy!
Seriously, if you have any questions about healthy living and conscious eating, or if you would like to know more about the vegan lifestyle, let me know in the comments and I'll be happy to answer.
~ Natalyn :)