Is it possible to dine out and eat in a way that contributes to your fat loss goals? Absolutely!
In my 20’s, I gained a lot of experience working in restaurants (seven years total), and one thing I was constantly impressed with was how flexible the chefs could be. For instance, did you know that you can ask to have the sauce on the side for any dish at PF Chang’s? Yes, indeed! As an example, if you order Ginger Chicken and Broccoli with the sauce on the side, you are then left with plain steamed chicken breast, steamed broccoli and a side of ginger sauce for dipping. Ask for a side of steamed brown rice and there you have it – a very healthy and satisfying meal!
So I’m here to say:
Be fearless with your meal ordering! You’ll be surprised what you can get if you just ask nicely.
Here’s the game plan: Anytime you’re out to eat, take a look at the menu and find the dish that has the highest potential to be healthy (but also sounds good!). Then, figure out what changes you’ll need to request in order to make it even healthier. Keep in mind that most restaurants have one goal and one goal only, and that is to create food that tastes good. Calories are not usually their top concern, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be flexible. Costumer satisfaction is of utmost importance to them, too.
I’ll give you an example of what Jeff and I usually do. On the menu we see:
Turkey burger with Swiss cheese, grilled onions, chipotle mayo on a sesame seed bun with a choice of shoestring fries or sweet potato fries
Ok – this meal has a lot of potential to be healthy and low cal. Therefore when the server comes to the table, Jeff or I will flash our pearly whites and very nicely ask for the following:
“Can I please have the turkey burger with no cheese and no mayo, extra grilled onions (since they’re loaded with flavor but typically light on calories), a side of mustard, and is it possible to have wheat toast instead of the bun?”
They’ll either say “yes” or “no” to the wheat toast. If the answer is no, then say, “Ok, I’ll skip the bun all together then. May I please have a side salad with vinaigrette dressing instead of the fries? Oh, that’ll be an extra dollar? Ok, no problem (my health is worth it). Thanks!”
Jeff and I order like this all – the – time, and we rarely have a problem. We’ve done it in many different cities and countries over the years, and the practice has been absolutely key in staying healthy and achieving our fitness goals while on the road.
Here are some requests that will save your health and lots of calories:
- Easy dressing or dressing on the side
- Skip the cheese
- Skip the croutons
- Vinaigrette dressing instead of creamy dressing
- Add any extra fruit or vegetables that they have available. Take a look at the other salads on the menu for ideas.
- Vegetables steamed with no butter or oil, or ask for very light oil
- Sauce on the side
- Grilled fish or chicken instead of fried
- Wheat bread or toast instead of white bread or bun
- Lettuce wrap instead of bun (two pieces of iceberg lettuce)
- Vegetables, salad or fruit instead of a starchy/fatty side such as mashed potatoes or fries
- Mustard or salsa instead of mayo or “secret sauce”
- Water or unsweetened tea to drink instead of anything else
- Egg whites instead of regular eggs
- Oatmeal made with water instead of milk
Lastly, being the restaurant veteran that I am, I must relay this friendly reminder: Please don’t forget to thank your server by tipping! They’re the ones making sure your order comes out just the way you need it, after all. Trust me, they will greatly appreciate it!
What are your favorite dining out substitutions and requests? Please share in the comments below!
Please consult your doctor or medical professional before performing any exercises or trying any weight loss techniques shown or described on this website, as there may be personal medical or health considerations that only your doctor or health professional is competent to assess.