I love food. Especially eating out. And living in NYC, there are ENDLESS places that I want to try. Part of the reason that I eat clean most of the time is so that when I do choose to treat myself to a meal out, which usually happens about once or twice a week, I can order whatever I desire and not feel guilty about it. Let’s face it, I’ve never been the girl to go to a famous burger joint, and order a salad. That’s just boring.
That’s why I follow the 80/20 rule, for the most part. Eat 100% clean 80% of the time, and use the other 20% to treat myself. (Except during the a2a 25 day challenge, of course).
That being said, I also hate the feeling of leaving a restaurant feeling so full that you can’t even walk, or worse, having to put up with a stomach ache for the rest of the night. So lately, I’ve been trying to make some healthier choices. Or at least work on portion control…
One of the new places that I tried today was Hu’s Kitchen. Here’s what they’re all about:
We started with the question, “how should humans eat?” The more we studied and experimented, the more we came to understand that we are primitive bodies living in modern times, that getting back to a pre-industrial way of eating was the best thing we could do for our health. But we knew we wouldn’t be satisfied until we figured out how to make our food not just nutritionally superior but also genuinely delicious.
Seriously, why don’t more places like this exist? Everything is gluten free, grassfed, organic, and their prices were very reasonable! Still not convinced? Check out their pillars.
Today I went with two eggs over easy, sweet potato hash and grass fed bacon. Everything is cooked in coconut or olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. My meal even came with a biscuit made from veggies, flaxseed and olive oil – how cool is that?
And I ate every last bite, obviously.
I will definitely be going back once the a2a challenge has ended to check out their Jordy cakes, juices and sample some of their sweet treats! Check out ChekMark Eats review for more on Hu Kitchen.
Ok, back to the main event. Although for me eating out is a semi-rare occasion, I know that many people eat out much more often than I do, either because they don’t like to cook, they travel a lot, they have to take clients out for work, or they lead a way cooler life than I do. Regardless of the reason, we’ve had a few requests for tips on making healthier choices at restaurants, so I thought I’d give my two cents.
1. Play an active role in restaurant selection. If your friends are deciding where to go for brunch on Sunday, do some research yourself and suggest a few places where you know you can find something on the menu for you. If your suggestions get shot down, well hey, at least you tried.
2. Stalk the menu before you go. If you check out the menu ahead of time, you’ll be able to select something healthy and be less likely to make an impulsive, unhealthy decision at the restaurant.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for modifications. You might feel awkward for the two seconds that you’re asking your waiter what type of oil they cook their vegetables in, but your stomach will be happier later. If you’re trying to eat gluten free, order your sandwich or burger without the bun rather than having it sit on your plate staring you in the face while you try not to eat it. If the chicken in the dish that you want is fried, ask if they can substitute grilled. If your dish comes with fries, ask for a side salad instead. There are tons of tiny modifications that can make the unhealthiest of meals clean!
4. Split meals. Ask your friend if they want to share something with you. Not only will you feel less guilty later after not polishing off an entire plate of french toast by yourself, your wallet will thank you too.
5. Order a salad to start. This will help fill you up before your meal arrives and also keeps you from munching on the bread in the middle of the table.
6. Choose a main dish with protein and veggies. These tend to be less processed with less hidden ingredients.
7. Stop eating when you’re full. You don’t have to clean your plate! You can take the rest home with you. Or in most cases, there is someone else at the table that will be willing to clean your plate for you.
8. ENJOY! Yes, it’s important to eat healthy. And yes, we all feel better when we do. But sometimes you just have to indulge. There are just too many foods out there to eat protein and veggies 100% of the time. Life is too short, live a little!
Finally, moving away from restaurants and back to cooking your own food, I’m going to walk you through my meal prep from last week to show you my lunch that was a2a challenge approved.
Julia’s Power Lunch
– Sauteed kale – grease skillet with olive or coconut oil, add kale, sautee until starts to turn brown and crispy
– Roasted sweet potatoes – cut sweet potato into cubes, toss in olive oil, place on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes
– Roasted portobello mushrooms (from NomNom Paleo)
– Grape tomatoes (raw)
– Turkey meatballs – Combine 1/2 diced onion with 1 lb of lean ground turkey, roll into balls and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until thoroughly cooked
I portioned everything out into 4 tupperware containers and ate them for lunch Tuesday-Friday. As a “dressing” I used a very ripe avocado that I could mash up and stir into the mix.
Enjoy your week everyone!