Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hitting The Restaurant - Caveman Style...

Imagine a world without "Happy Meals", mocha lattes, free cheddar biscuits, and enchilada platters...  Okay, now back to reality.  Today we live in a 'fast food' society where eating out is the norm and dinner at home often means a call to the local pizza joint.  Let's face it, there are times when eating at a restaurant is the only option whether it be for business, social, or convenience reasons.  Good news though, it is possible to stay on track even when the cards seem to be stacked against you.  Here's a guide to help you.

Fast Food (McDonald's, Burger King, Carl's Jr., etc.)
-Burgers or Grilled Chicken Sandwiches - no bun, no sauce, extra lettuce, and tomato.
-Grilled Chicken Salads - no croutons/chow mein/etc., no cheese, no creamy dressing.
-Apple Slices
-Side Salads - same rules as above.

Mexican (Chipolte, Q'doba, etc.)
-Burrito Bowl - do it salad style!  Request lettuce/spinach instead of rice, choose your protein, add some grilled vegetables, salsa and guac.
-Fajitas - just don't eat the tortillas, rice, beans, cheese, or sour cream

-Seaweed Salad
-Garden Salad - same rules as above.
-Sashimi (just fish - no rice!!)
-Grilled fish, chicken or beef
-Steamed or Stir Fried Vegetables - no sauce

Sub Shop
-Turkey, Ham, Roast Beef, Chicken Subs - no bun, no cheese, TONS of vegetables
-Make your sub a salad!  Apply the same rules as above.  Dress with oil and vinegar

Breakfast Restaurant
-Eggs- fried, scrambled (no milk), hard boiled, poached.
-Steak, ham, bacon, etc.
-Omelets - no cheese, lots of meat and vegetables!
-Side of Fruit

Steak House (Outback, Lone Star, Texas Roadhouse, etc.)
-Steak - stick with the lean stuff, Sirloin, NY strip, Eye of Round
-Grilled Chicken or Fish - no fancy sauces or toppings
-Shrimp Cocktail
-Crab Legs
-Lobster Tail
-Garden Salad - see salad rules above.  Add a protein listed above to make it a meal!
-Steamed broccoli - no sauces
-Baked Sweet Potato - make sure to keep the portion in check!!

Helpful Tips
- Ask questions!  If you aren't sure what's in something - ask!!
- Request substitutions - steamed vegetables instead of rice, extra meat instead of cheese, dressings and sauces served on the side.
- Order it the way YOU want it!  Remember you are paying for this meal - get what you want!!
- Don't be embarrassed by your order - you are being healthy!!
- Portions matter - you don't have to eat it all!!

Final Thought
-Remember - every once and a while a cheat meal is okay - just beware of the "Food Hangover"!!

What's your strategy for eating out???


  1. All great tips! Thanks, Amy. I have a sneaky trick to watch out for! Many big chains (and some small mom and pops) use PANCAKE BATTER to thicken omlettes and scrambled eggs, nasty nasty sugar and gluten. So be sure to ask, or just get fried/poached eggs to be sure.

  2. Wow, pancake thickener? That is awful! Breakfast joints are my go-to restaurants for pretty easy paleo choices. The servers have gotten to know my "no toast" request. I'll have to check on those omelets, though!

    Great ideas on how to eat out paleo-style! Thank you for the ideas! It can definitely be a trial of patience and wills when restaurant eating without cheating. If you ever see a Mongolian BBQ place, those are a great resource for paleo eating. You gather the meat and veggies you want, add your own sauce/oil, and they cook it on a huge griddle. Of course, if you have serious food allergies, this is not for you--but for pretty safe paleo meals, this is a good bet.

    Thanks again!