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You go out to eat with friends and you’re trying to eat healthy, possibly maintaining a whole food, plant based (WFPB) lifestyle and all you see is a line up of bad choices on top of more bad choices.  How can you enjoy lunch or dinner out without sabotaging your health goals?

Find The Plants!

We’re all about choosing the right foods, and that means finding the plants on a menu. When you’re browsing a menu, always look for the vegetables, dark leafy greens and fruit options.

Avoid the meat and opt for a rainbow of flavor.  For example, at a breakfast place, look for whole grain oats, dairy-free options and fill your plate with color!  This could mean avocado toast with red pepper flakes or steel cut oats with fruit.  A lot of times a restaurant will be willing to offer steamed or grilled veggies on the side if you ask.  Just go light on any oils they may use.  For lunch, this means load up on whole grains like legumes, lentils or whole wheat pasta.  And for dinner, opt for a large salad and sweet potato on the side.  Restaurants are getting so much better about offering veggie substitutions for all-American favorites like burgers, tacos and pizza! Be sure to ask your server what other plant-based customers enjoy and they might have an idea that’s not on the menu.

Fiber fuels our body by making us feel fuller longer, aids in digestive health, improves cholesterol and blood sugar levels and assists in preventing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  When is the last time a steak did that for you?

 

Avoid The Empty Calories

An easy calorie trap is all the added oils and butter restaurants use to cook their vegetables, so ask your server to go light on oils. Another all too often overlooked pitfall is salad dressings full of sugar and oil.  While it’s true salads are a go-to plant based foundation for healthy diets, you need to lose the cheese and meat and opt for tons of herbs, vegetables, nuts and spice in their place.  Spice replaces the flavor the fat you removed provided. Salsa is a great salad dressing option at restaurants because there’s usually no added oil or sugar.

 

FIBER Is King!

Lots of people believe the myth that when you don’t have a big piece of meat on your plate, you’re missing out on a ton of protein and you’ll never be full or you’ll be hungry again in an hour.  When is the last time you heard a person being diagnosed with a protein-deficiency?  We don’t need more protein, we need more fiber! Fiber fuels our body by making us feel fuller longer, aids in digestive health, improves cholesterol and blood sugar levels and assists in preventing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  When is the last time a steak did that for you?  We get more fiber by eating more fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. Instead of cake, cookies or other heavy dessert options, request a bowl full of raspberries.  They taste great and are a much better choice. Your body will thank you tomorrow.

 

Two Last Tips: Put Your Fork Down & Don’t Be Late.

East slowly and enjoy your meals instead of plowing thru them and wondering why you don’t feel your best.  One tip is putting you fork down between each bite.  When you allow you mouth to actually chew your food thoroughly and swallow it before you take another bite, it aids in giving your mind cues that you’re full!  When you eat fast, your mind doesn’t have time to catch up with your body and before you know it, you feel stuffed. Remember that meals are about the company you keep: both the people and the food.  You should love the people you share your meals with and you should pick foods your body will love back!  Lastly, don’t be late. To your meals that is.  when you wait until you’re starving to go out to eat, you’re likely going to pick all the bad things.  It’s just our way of feeding our faces fast and furious to feel better fast.  So eat before the hangry monster comes out.  You’ll make better choices, you’ll eat less and frankly, you’ll be a lot more cheerful.

WFPB choices will leave you full, without feeling bloated, tired and full of guilt.  When we view food as fuel, we change our attitude towards our meals.  The things we put in our mouth become vehicles to help our body perform better instead of meeting some craving for sugar or salt, only to regret our bad decision later.

Go For The Easy Choice

Our go-to favorite WFPB restaurant pick is veggie fajitas.  Corn tortillas, grilled onions, peppers, mushrooms and squash make for a delicious and filling lunch or dinner. Skip the cheese and opt for salsa.  We also love guacamole for an extra decadent treat! Combine this with a side fo rice (we prefer brown over white) and beans (we prefer black over refried) and you’ve set yourself up for a great WFPB meal.  When you have the choice, always choose grilled over sauteed or fried. Extra oil and breading is no bueno.

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Avoid The Empty Calories

An easy calorie trap is all the added oils and butter restaurants use to cook their vegetables, so ask your server to go light on oils. Another all too often overlooked pitfall is salad dressings full of sugar and oil.  While it’s true salads are a go-to plant based foundation for healthy diets, you need to lose the cheese and meat and opt for tons of herbs, vegetables, nuts and spice in their place.  Spice replaces the flavor the fat you removed provided. Salsa is a great salad dressing option at restaurants because there’s usually no added oil or sugar.

FIBER Is King!

Lots of people believe the myth that when you don’t have a big piece of meat on your plate, you’re missing out on a ton of protein and you’ll never be full or you’ll be hungry again in an hour.  When is the last time you heard a person being diagnosed with a protein-deficiency?  We don’t need more protein, we need more fiber! Fiber fuels our body by making us feel fuller longer, aids in digestive health, improves cholesterol and blood sugar levels and assists in preventing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  When is the last time a steak did that for you?  We get more fiber by eating more fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. Instead of cake, cookies or other heavy dessert options, request a bowl full of raspberries.  They taste great and are a much better choice. Your body will thank you tomorrow.

Two Last Tips: Put Your Fork Down & Don’t Be Late.

East slowly and enjoy your meals instead of plowing thru them and wondering why you don’t feel your best.  One tip is putting you fork down between each bite.  When you allow you mouth to actually chew your food thoroughly and swallow it before you take another bite, it aids in giving your mind cues that you’re full!  When you eat fast, your mind doesn’t have time to catch up with your body and before you know it, you feel stuffed. Remember that meals are about the company you keep: both the people and the food.  You should love the people you share your meals with and you should pick foods your body will love back!  Lastly, don’t be late. To your meals that is.  when you wait until you’re starving to go out to eat, you’re likely going to pick all the bad things.  It’s just our way of feeding our faces fast and furious to feel better fast.  So eat before the hangry monster comes out.  You’ll make better choices, you’ll eat less and frankly, you’ll be a lot more cheerful.

WFPB choices will leave you full, without feeling bloated, tired and full of guilt.  When we view food as fuel, we change our attitude towards our meals.  The things we put in our mouth become vehicles to help our body perform better instead of meeting some craving for sugar or salt, only to regret our bad decision later.