Posted on 05-30-2013
The goal, always, is to see how many vegetables you can get on a plate. The meat and cheese become condiments, an afterthought, the smallest item on your plate, or missing altogether.
Here’s the progression>>>
If you’re a beginner, choose a grilled fish dish, or a grilled/broiled meat dish that has no extra sauce on it. Many restaurants carry delicious bean burgers now. They are a good substitute for the meat. A side, plain baked potato or baked sweet potato with no or just a bit of butter, lots of side vegetables and a side salad. Dress your salad with oil and vinegar, a vinegrette or lemon wedges and olive oil. Leave the creamy dressing behind. Have the fruit bowl or sherbet for dessert or wait until you get home and have fruit.
If you’re a few steps beyond beginner, eat a third of the meat, add extra sides of veggies (plain, not in cream sauces). Take the extra meat home and make it stretch for two more meals. The rest is the same as for the beginner.
If you have graduated to a PHD (I Prioritize my Health Daily or veggies Piled Higher and Deeper), congratulations on the energy and well-being you’re feeling. Keep it up by enjoying all the veggies, fruit, beans and brown rice you can find at a restaurant (white rice is OK, too). A meat entrée is fine, although it’s always easier to control the quality of meat when at home. Make it last several meals.
Always carry a baggie of raw nuts or raw nuts and dried fruit mixed. This makes it easier to enjoy what food you can get at the restaurant knowing that you have extra to eat afterward, if needed.
Another trick is to eat before you go out. Grab a nut butter sandwich on the way out. If you’ve eaten that on the way, a salad and veggies are usually very satisfying.
Most restaurants have great side vegetables, baked white or sweet potato, and lots of different salads. The easiest types of restaurants at which to enjoy a delicious meal that encourages your body to love on you are the following:
Latin/Mexican – get rice (usually white, but OK if not a daily habit), beans, side tortillas, side salsa, guacamole, salad. Tacos, burritos with beans are great.
Asian – many have brown rice, now. Order the tofu stir fry, any vegetarian entrée, or a large stir fry with bits of meat in it. Japanese and Thai dishes are the lowest in fat. They don’t use a lot of sauces. Vegetarian pad thai is a delicious Thai entrée. Avoid the deep fried entrees.
Indian – Order the rice, beans and vegetables. A large percentage of Indians are vegetarian, which makes it easy to find entrees in an Indian restaurant.
Health Food Store Cafés – If you can find a health food store that serves food, you will fare very well. Lots of choices here.
Turkish/Middle Eastern/Mediterranean – Falafals, lentil soups, salads, pocket bread sandwiches, chopped, fresh veggie salads.
African – Most folks in Africa live on beans and grains. It’s usually easy to find good and unusual dishes in an African restaurant.
Fun facts: Wendy’s always has a warm baked potato waiting for you if you need a quick snack on the fly. Just get it plain and eat it like an apple. Absolutely delicious.
Most American steak houses have great side veggies, often grilled and almost always have baked white or sweet potatoes. Fast food restaurants are slowly coming around. You can usually land a salad (the dressing is where you lose all that you’ve gained with the salad. Ask for lemon wedges to dress the salad. They always have these.)
13th Commandment: Thou shalt not leave home without food. This country is not yet able to help us stay healthy once out in the wilds of society. Pack a snack or meal, always. Grab a piece of fruit, always keep raw nuts for emergency, always pack a water bottle. Keep your food bag next to the door. Fill it and go!
Forgot your bag? Convenience store survival…fresh banana or apple, roasted peanuts in the shell, a KIND bar or Larabar (these bars are basically fruit and nuts, read the ingredients, most of them are OK, but several have added lots of sugar and chocolate. Keep it to dried fruit and nuts. The Cashew Pie flavor of the Larabar is just dates and cashews, the fruit and nut flavor of the KIND bar is just that.) These bars are often in places like Target and the health food section of a grocery store, as well as Starbucks (just the KIND bar, so far). Starbucks often carries great granola bars that have good ingredients.
Sarah L Bingham, MS
CEO, Fast Food Healing
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