health blog

Preview a Restaurant Menu for a Healthy "RE-DO"

We all enjoy socializing with friends and family, and sometimes this involves restaurant meals.  There is generally no need for these dining-out occasions to sabotage your healthy eating lifestyle. It just takes a little pre-planning before you show up hungry to face a tempting menu that offers some “not so healthy” combinations. We all like to indulge occasionally, but it is best to stay selective in your food combinations, so things do not get totally out of control. This can be especially true if your main indulgence happens to be wine.

It is now possible to view on-line the menu for almost any restaurant before you arrive. If you search for the restaurant by name, you can generally view the menu either on the restaurant website or in the Yelp or Urban Spoon applications. This will give you the opportunity to preview the menu and see what offerings could be slightly tweaked to fit within your eating guidelines by making a healthy, but not so burdensome, “re-do”. For Example:

Menu Offering:  Broiled white fish served with asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes.
RE-DO:  Broiled white fish served with asparagus and an extra green veggie, like spinach, in place of the potatoes.  Most restaurants are happy to do this when asked and are getting increasingly accustomed to such requests.

Menu Offering:  Chips and guacamole at a Mexican restaurant
REDO:  In place of the chips, request raw cucumbers, peppers and jicama for eating with the guacamole.
When eating in a Mexican restaurant, remember that shrimp or chicken fajitas are a great appetizer if you forgo the tortilla, rice and refried beans. You will have a delicious start to your meal if you top them with guacamole, fresh salsa, and shredded lettuce.

Some General Guidelines:

Breadbasket:  Fewer and fewer diners are availing themselves of the pre-dinner breadbasket.  In fact, fewer restaurants even offer one now.  If you can get consensus from your companions, ask your server not to even place one on your table. No need to be tempted by some empty calories while you are waiting for your healthy meal.  Along the same lines, avoid “bready” appetizers that feature the descriptions, “battered” or “breaded”.

Healthy starters:  Ideally, you will fill the breadbasket absence by ordering some healthy appetizers. Some better choices would be: grilled calamari, chicken or beef skewers, Caprese or chopped salad (olive oil and vinegar on the side), beef or tuna tartar, Carpaccio, or shrimp cocktail.  Another option is to order a vegetable “side” from the dinner menu, like spinach or green beans, as an appetizer.

Main Course:  Stick with a lean protein and one or two green vegetables, and you will feel better at the end of the evening. You can have a few bites of mashed potatoes if you really want it, but if you are having wine and planning on a portion of dessert, keep your overall nutrient goals in mind. Skip the potatoes if you have other big carbohydrate plans.  Pick your vice!

We all indulge a bit. I encourage enjoying life and food. However, if your lifestyle involves eating in restaurants accompanied by a couple of alcoholic beverages on a consistent basis, it can be a slippery slope.  Traveling, dining with clients, or even becoming an empty-nester can all increase the number of meals you eat in a restaurant.  Dining in restaurants cannot be an excuse to veer widely off your usual eating plan, especially if you eat many of your meals in restaurants.

With a little bit of planning and a firm grasp of how your macronutrients should be apportioned to achieve a healthy balance of calories that will maintain your weight, you should be able to enjoy your meals out and not regret your choices the next morning.

Remember to “Keep it lean (protein) and green,” and you are in the safe zone.

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Montana Macro-Balance

Montana Macro-Balance

Jeanne Montana has been in the fitness and weight loss consultation industry for over 20 years. She has helped thousands of people get fit and experience physical and emotional transformations. As a certified sports nutrition specialist and the owner of her own weight loss manager business, Jeanne's goal is to help create healthy and strong initiatives for your body mind and soul.

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jeanne montanaThe guidelines of the Montana Macro-Balance plan educate individuals and families about healthy choices and nutritional options to better their well-being. Montana Macro-Balance is an option "on-the-go."  The ultimate goal is to incorporate wholesome, nutrient dense foods into your daily meal plan. Nutritionally balanced meals starting from breakfast through dinner is a necessity.

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