5 Tips For a Healthier Restaurant Experience

SaladLet’s face it, most people like to eat out. Some people eat every meal at a restaurant and some people only go out to eat every now and then. Regardless of how often you eat out, restaurant meals are going to give you trouble if you want to get and keep a nice fit body. Does that mean you should never eat at another restaurant?  That might not be a terrible idea, but that is not what I am suggesting.  Instead, try to regulate how often you eat out and when you decide to go to a restaurant, make healthy food choices.

There are a few very easy tricks you can use to eat healthier and stay lean even if you eat at restaurants from time to time…

There are 3 things that restaurants love to serve which you must avoid at all cost:

  • refined starchy foods
  • deep fried foods
  • any sodas, juices, or other sugary foods (except whole fruits, which are great)

If you can make it through a restaurant meal without eating any of the above, you are probably doing pretty well and you have avoided some of the worst things you can put in your body – processed sugars, refined starchy carbohydrates, trans fats, and refined vegetable oils.

In addition to what I’ve already mentioned, you should also avoid the “free” bread that restaurants bring to the table.  You may not see it listed on your receipt, but your body will be paying the price.

A lot of entrees come with french fries.  I know you want to eat them, but don’t do it. The same goes for the exorbitant portions of pasta and rice that often fill the entire plate.

As an alternative, order just meat with a side of vegetables and a salad.  Ask if you can have the vegetables and salad as a substitute for the french fries, pasta, or rice, that usually come with the meal.  Most restaurants are more than happy to make these substitutions for you. In a worst case scenario, they may ask you to pay extra for the substitution.  Do it.  Your body will thank you for spending the extra money.

Let’s take a closer look at the difference made by making these simple substitutions as compared to the typical restaurant meal…

The typical restaurant meal looks something like this:

  • Burger or Sandwich
  • Chips or Fries
  • Soda or Other Sweetened Drink (this includes diet sodas)

The healthier restaurant meal looks more like this:

  • Burger or Sandwich
  • Salad or Vegetables
  • Water (no diet drinks)

With just 2 little changes to your meal, you can save at least 400 – 900 calories on every restaurant meal. On top of that, you are also avoiding some of the worst foods that you can eat (fries and soda) which will keep you away from those nasty trans fats and high fructose corn syrups.

Now, if you really love eating all the rice, pasta and bread that they serve you at restaurants, here is a little trick to help you get away with it without increasing your body fat.  Pay close attention because I don’t want you to misunderstand this.  Before you go to a restaurant and eat all those carbs, hit the gym and do a high intensity full body resistance training workout.  I want to emphasis two things here.  Do this BEFORE you go to the restaurant and it MUST be a high intensity full body resistance training workout.

You may not always be able to make it to the gym before going to a restaurant, but when you can, you can consider the meal to be your “post-workout meal”. Your body can handle more carbs after a high intensity resistance training workout because they are used to help replenish the muscle glycogen depletion caused by the intense workout.

Cardio isn’t going to do it for you. You need a high intensity resistance training workout in order to deplete enough muscle glycogen to allow your body to handle the amount of carbs in a restaurant meal.

If you like to eat out, I recommend you give these tips a try.  I hope this helps you eat healthier, look and feel better, and live a better life.


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