Since we started our 100 Days of Real Food pledge eating at restaurants has become quite a challenge, but we have also learned a lot from the experience. Below are some tips and suggested meals if you also want to try to stick to whole foods while eating out.
- Avoid bread items such as rolls, breadcrumbs, tortillas, pasta, breading, crusts, etc. Unfortunately even if something is called “whole-wheat” it is rare to find items that are truly only made with 100% whole-wheat (unless the restaurant can confirm the ingredients for you).
- If the waiter/chef doesn’t know (and can’t find out) the ingredients of an item then they probably don’t make it fresh in house which means it likely has all sorts of stuff (like sweeteners and preservatives) in it you don’t want or need.
- If they don’t know where the meat came from then I can guarantee it is not from anywhere special (like a grass-fed local farm).
- For children do not order off the kid’s menu. The kid’s menu is almost always processed foods or foods made from processed ingredients (like pasta from white flour, factory made chicken nuggets, corn dogs, french fries, etc.). Instead attempt to put together a plate of adult side items that you think your child would eat (like a baked potato, fruit, vegetable, and nuts or cheese you see offered on a salad).
- Always ask questions when it comes to sauces and ask for them to be left off when appropriate. It seems as though everything under the sun (including lots of sugar) can be hidden in the most surprising places when it comes to sauces, dressings, and marinades. For salads opt for some oil and vinegar instead of pre-made salad dressing (unless they can confirm a simple list of dressing ingredients for you).
- If time allows do some research and look at menus in advance to help you make the best restaurant selection and menu choices.
Suggested Restaurant Meals (both generic and at specific chain restaurants) that follow our 100 Days of Real Food rules:
- Higher end restaurants sometimes offer locally raised meats and poultry
- Breakfast egg dishes such as scrambled eggs
- Side items such as potatoes, vegetables, beans, fruit, and brown rice
- Simple soups (always ask what is in it first)
Chipotle Mexican Grill:
- Burrito bowl with black beans, fajita vegetables, corn salsa, guacamole, sour cream and grated cheese (with no white rice or torilla)
- Salad with no meat or vinaigrette