A lot of people ask me if I find it difficult to go out to eat while trying to eat healthy. Yes, it can be difficult at times. There aren't many restaurants on Long Island that fit my criteria of "healthy." While there are plenty of health food stores, there aren't many vegan or even vegetarian restaurants here (I know of 2 or 3). Technically, I could go to any restaurant and get a salad or grilled veggies, but I eat those at home every day, so if I am going out to eat I want to try something unique.
However, go ot a restaurant can be a little stressful for me because I have no clue what is going into my food, who is making it and how they are preparing it (I get a little neurotic about my food if you haven't figured that out yet!). Especially since, I am sure that if I witnessed what went on in a restaurant kitchen, I would never eat out again! Trust me, I have heard HORROR stories from friends of mine that use to work at restaurants, EEK!
So, I actually prefer to make my own food at home. For me personally, it is worth the time and effort it takes to make my own food because I will have the piece of mind knowing that I am eating clean, healthy food rather than a mystery meal.
But that doesn't that mean I never go out to eat! I would say 95% of the time I cook my own food. When I do go out to eat, I am very selective of where I go. I live about 40min out of New York City where there are SO much healthy vegan restaurants that I feel completely comfortable eating at. Since these resaturants are 100% vegan I don't have to worry about anything magically slipping into my food that I don't want.
Tips for eating out:
No matter what restaurant you go to, the best way to keep your healthy eating on track is to fill up on salads, grilled veggies and healthy soups first! Then eat half or split an entree of your choice. Restaurants typically serve portions sizes that are double or triple what you should be eating! Another way to not over do it at a restaurant is to order a medium/large salad or vegetable dish, then an appetizer. Appetizers are smaller so you won't be eating as much. Avoid anything thats fried or any "creamy" sauces. As for salads, they can get UGLY! The whole point of getting a salad is to fill up on high volume, low calorie veggies. So forget the croutons, bacon bits, creamy dressings, moutain of cheese or whatever high calorie nonsense they put on salads. A simple mixed veggie salad with oil & vinegar dressing and a sprinkle of cheese, nuts, seeds, beans or what ever healthy topping you like. Keep it simple!
Just because you are trying to eat healthy does not been you can't be social and go out to eat with friends. As long as you are prepared to resist temptation (or half a few small bies of it!) and make smart choices, you can stay healthy & have a social life! Who knew? ;)
My favorite NYC restaurants: Hangawi, Gobo and Caravan of Dreams.
Healthy tip: Before breakfast sqeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon into some warm water. This is great for cleaning out your liver and kidneys as well as giving your body a great boost in the morning!
What is your take on cooking vs eating out, while still trying to eat healthy?