*Sorry this is later than I said it would be; I compiled this list on Word, and I was having internet problems, so I was unable to transfer it and post it.*
As I mentioned before, eating right while eating out isn’t impossible. It just requires a little knowledge, maybe some research, and as always, a little self control.
Here are some of my go-to’s for my most frequented restaurants:
Grilled chicken sandwich, no mayo. Their balsamic vinegar dressing is a good alternative if you have to have a condiment. It’s ok to leave the cheese on, and sometimes even the bacon 😉 The whole wheat bun they serve it on makes it doubly awesome.
Fruit N’ Yogurt Parfait. As a side of course. They are admittedly kinda high in sugar, but in my opinion that’s cancelled out by the calcium, fruit, and the fact that it’s still way better for you than French fries.
Cheeseburger. That’s right, sometimes you gotta just have a good old McD’s cheeseburger. That, and the calorie count is only 300. So that plus your yogurt makes for a reasonable lunch.
Apple Slices. I don’t order them, because I’m allergic. But you can order them. It doesn’t get much healthier than sliced fruit.
Salads. They offer an impressive variety of salads. I’m also allergic to lettuce, so I don’t order these either. But you can. Just remember to stick to grilled chicken instead of crispy, and be VERY careful with the dressings.
Since I’m me, and everyone has their own taste, I would recommend visiting their website to see what your options are. They even have an ‘Under 400 calories’ page.
Breakfast. Stick to English muffins instead of biscuits, ham instead of sausage, and yogurt instead of hash browns.
I had to rewrite this one. I’ve never liked BK as a ‘healthy eating’ option. Their grilled chicken and buns are really dry, and they offer apples and salads, but no healthy side that I can eat. In my opinion, their burger and fries are better than McD’s, but if I’m trying to eat healthy, I skip BK. So when they came out with their Satisfries, I was really excited. Until I did some research.
I went to their website to find out the calorie and fat counts for both types of fries. Their website and commercials are all about how the new fries are 40% less fat and 30% less calories than regular fries. Naturally, since you’re at BK, you assume it’s less fat and cals than original BK fries. But when I looked at the numbers, I didn’t need a calculator to see that it was not a 40% difference. Wondering why the discrepancy, I went back to the home page. This time, I noticed the tell-tale asterisks next to the font. So, I read the fine print, which states: “*40% less fat than McDonald’s fries” & “**30% less calories than McDonald’s fries.”.
That just makes me mad. They are basically lying to the public. Sure, those little asterisks mean they can’t actually be sued, because they were ‘honest’, but really?? Why not just say that? Or why not just say ‘20% less fat and calories than BK fries.’
So there’s my rant. I don’t think restaurants should be allowed to legally mislead people. It’s wrong.
So anyway, if you can down their grilled chicken sandwich, and you aren’t allergic to raw fruits and veggies, go for it.
Otherwise, the Whopper Jr. isn’t too bad of an option. It’s got tomatoes and onions on it (which I’m not allergic to), so you have some veggies. Just remember to skip the mayo. Personally, I think Bk’s cheese is gross, so I don’t order it there, but again, that’s just my taste.
This is my favorite fast food option. As long as you order your items without any cream based sauces, and stay away from the deep fried foods, you pretty much can’t go wrong.
These are their cream based sauces:
Creamy Jalapeno sauce
Pepper Jack sauce
Avocado Ranch dressing
Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean your food has to be boring.
Here are some toppings you can substitute, and they’re actually good for you:
Pico de gallo
Cheddar cheese or three cheese blend
Tomatoes, onions, and lettuce
Their deep fried items are:
Edible taco salad bowls
What you can have instead:
Pintos & Cheese
A side of rice
Gorditas instead of chalupas
As everyone knows, Subway is another place you almost can’t go wrong.
Ask for a whole grain bread (wheat or honey oat)
Load up on the veggies
Stay away from mayo and other cream based sauces and condiments
Oil and vinegar is ok; even good for you (they use olive oil)
Be careful with the chips. They offer baked chips and yogurt, which are better options.
I like Panda Express because there is no MSG, and they use fresh foods. Even better, they now offer brown rice. Their Wok Smart items are easy to spot, and have 250 calories or less per serving.
So if you can, I would stick to brown rice as a side, and choose Wok Smart entrees. Something with veggies is best of course 😉 But even I can’t resist their orange chicken once in a while.
At bigger, sit-down restaurants (Applebees, Olive Garden, IHOP, etc.), a lot of them now have a low cal or Weight Watchers menu. There are flavorful items with a reasonable fat and calorie count. Best of all, there is usually a side of fruit or steamed veggies.
If there is not an alternative menu, it can still be easy to eat right. Just remember to stay away from ‘crispy’ or fried items, stick to tomato based sauces instead of cream based sauces, and don’t forget your fruit or veggies.
So there are my restaurant secrets to eating right. If you have a smart phone, it’s easy to check nutrition facts on the quick.
Don’t forget to have desert once in a while!
You should know that I do not count calories (or fat) as a practice. I think it’s unnecessary and it over-complicates healthy eating. Especially since fat and calories aren’t what matter most in healthy eating. What matters most is making sure you get the vitamins, minerals, fats, protein, and carbs that your body needs. But it is important, especially when you’re losing weight, to know more or less how many calories and how much fat are in your food. Keeping it within a certain range each time you eat will help you stay in control and on track.
If there’s a restaurant you want specifics on, or you have a question about something, send me a message!