Trying to order a healthy meal from a restaurant menu can be hard to navigate.
Many meals on a menu sound healthy, but if you are unaware of the preparation methods, and additives to most restaurant food you can unknowingly consume far to many calories, fat, and unhealthy carbs.
When you find yourself having to order off of a menu it's helpful to use these tricks to modify your meals.
1. Ask questions. How is your food prepared? Is it baked, deep fried, cooked in butter, or oil?
2. Ask for all sauces/dressings on the side. Ask for an alternative dressing, or sauce if the meal comes with a high sugar, or heavy creamy sauce/dressing. Substitute with hot sauce, salsa, a vinaigrette, lemon/lime wedges, salt & pepper, or balsamic vinegar.
3. Ask for any cheese, or high fat dairy to be removed, or put on the side, so that you can control the amount consumed.
4. Ask for any fried, or candied portions of your meal to be removed, or replaced. IE. Tortilla chips, crispy wontons, candied pecans, or dates.
5. Many proteins like grilled chicken, or fish will be basted with butter for extra flavour, make sure to ask for your protein to be plain, no butter/easy oil.
6. If your meal comes with a large portion of rice, or pasta, you can ask that it be replaced with veggies, or ask for a half portion of carbs, and substitute extra veggies.
7. Many restaurants will also add butter/oil/ milk/cream into their rice/potatoes/pasta to add flavour. Obviously this also adds a lot of extra calories & fat where you wouldn’t expect it. Make sure to ask what is in your food, so you can pick and choose what is really worth the calories.
8. Don’t assume a salad will always be the healthiest option. Many salads lately use healthy buzz words like "kale", or "superfood" to trick you into thinking its a healthy choice... but after all the added ingredients, heavy dressings, and an oversized portion it may have as much as 700-1000 calories.
9. Don't be afraid to modify an existing meal, order sides/add ons, or swap a side from another menu item. Usually if they have the ingredients on hand you can easily piece together a simple, healthy meal. For example ordering a side of salmon, or grilled chicken, and a sided of veggies.
10. Don't forget to be super friendly to your server since you will officially be "one of those people", but it's worth it if you have fitness goals to reach!