I would be lying to you if I told you we didn’t eat out at all. Maybe not as much as we used to before, but eating out is still very much part of our weekend ritual. Every Friday night or Saturday we allow ourselves one meal out. Okay sometimes two, but as we evolve into healthier versions of ourselves we avoid fast food, choose healthy eateries and even if we end up going to chain restaurants, we consciously pick out the healthier entrees on the menu.
Although there is nothing to substitute a healthy and wholesome home cooked meal, there are some ways to make eating out not so bad. Below I have listed some that work for my family:
Research the restaurant beforehand
It’s so much better to be prepared than to be stuck at the restaurant, at a loss for what to eat, hungry and irritable. Most restaurants have their menus online and it will be well worth your while to go over it to see what they have to offer.
Committing to eat only Dhabihah meat has us limit our choices mostly to restaurants that serve that meat. This saves us from other non halal ingredients such as pork and lard.
Choose restaurants that serve Healthier cuisine
Middle Eastern, Afghani and Turkish cuisines are great options with their grilled meats and vegetables. As is a good Pakistani barbecue. Just go easy on the naan (enriched wheat flat bread) that is served with most entrees at Pakistani/Indian restaurants. Choose rice dishes or do what I do, eat the meat by itself.
Sushi is also a good choice when eating out. Tempura, not so much.
skip the bread basket
Avoid the refined carbs as best you can. That goes for the nachos at most Mexican joints. Ask the waiter to bring you a plate of veggies instead.
Ask for water
Drink a couple of glasses of water while waiting for your food. This will help kill your appetite somewhat and you will be less likely to over eat.
don’t be afraid to ask for substitutes.
I often substitute the fries for double the vegetables and they are more than happy to oblige. Also, ask for olive oil and lemon in place of dressing when ordering a salad. Commercially manufactured dressings have inflammatory ingredients like excessive salt, sugar and synthetic ingredients.
avoid soft drinks
I remember growing up, we hardly ever had soda with our meal. Today, guzzling down multiple glasses of the poison is a given, thanks to the endless refills one gets at most restaurants.
eat half the serving
A single serving at restaurants today is enough to feed two. Eat half and ask to have the rest packed for you to take home.
This section of the menu is another minefield filled with excessive sugar, artificial ingredients, preservatives and other additives. Ask for fruit instead.
So there you have it! My handy guide to navigating the treacherous terrain that is restaurant food. Do you have any tips to add? Please comment below!