While looking after our health is priority number one (because we all want to age gracefully), we are strong advocates of the 80/20 rule. Because life is all about balance after all, and there's nothing wrong with a little indulgence every now and then. But if, like us, your 20% is looking more like 40 or 50%, then it might be time to implement a few simple hacks to bring the wellness pendulum back on track. Not to say you shouldn't enjoy a guilt-free treat, but we're all familiar with that moment when we've overindulged—even chefs need to detox sometimes.
The only issue we have with curbing these unhealthy habits is that most of us are insanely busy people. And when you're home late from the office or traveling for work, sometimes you don't have time to prepare a home-cooked meal. So how do you stay on track when the only option is to eat out? We asked celebrity nutritionist, registered dietitian, healthy cooking expert, and published author Keri Glassman to share the top three hacks she swears by when ordering at a restaurant so you can and feel good wherever you are.
Curb the Growling stomach
We've all been there. You're insanely hungry because you skipped lunch to attend a meeting, and now you are prepared to ditch all your healthy eating efforts just to feed the hole in your stomach. But Glassman says stepping into a restaurant while you're already "hangry" is a recipe for a disastrous takedown of the entire bread basket. "Pre-dinner protein works like a charm here," she said. "A few pieces of a healthy beef jerky, a hard-boiled egg with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, two slices of turkey or a Greek yogurt with 10 almonds all work, and you'll feel much more in control of making mindful decisions at dinner."
Order a Veggie Side Dish Instead of an Appetizer
Returning back to the 80/20 rule we mentioned earlier, this also applies to your restaurant order. Glassman advises opting for a fairly clean and simple appetizer, such as the veggie side dishes or soup. "Often something like broccoli rabe or green beans will be the better choice for a first course," she said. "If it's not on the menu, just ask. Most places are more than willing to put something together."
Save Your Starches for Home
Even though Glassman is in favor of having sweet potatoes, winter squash, and grains as part of your diet, she told us that most of them are flavored with butter, oils, and salt when eating out. "Opt to eat these at home when you have more control over exactly what goes into them," she said. "Order a meal that consists of a protein like salmon or grass-fed beef paired with nonstarchy veggies like asparagus, spinach, or mushrooms."
What tips and tricks do you swear by for eating healthy at a restaurant or while traveling?