choosing healthy options when at restaurants

Ask Jenny: How to Stay Healthy When Eating Out

“Hi Jenny – I completed your Lean and Clean program last year and loved it – I lost 11lbs! Thanks to my new found confidence I have started dating again and am eating out at least 1-2 times a week. But I don’t want this to derail the amazing changes I have made for my health and body composition. Help! How can I stay healthy while eating out?”

Kelsey, NYC

Hi Kelsey, and congratulations!

Firstly, let me reassure that eating out 1-2 times a week will not undo all of your hard work. My Lean and Clean Program helps you lose weight by fundamentally changing your metabolism and blood sugar balance. So once you have finished the program, your body will continue to use food for fuel rather than storing it as fat.

Staying healthy while eating out is simple to do, and trying new restaurants is one of mine and Husband Hanway’s favorite date nights. Below are some easy tips that can keep you feeling amazing whilst still enjoying evenings out with your new boo.

Top Tips for Staying Eating Healthy at Restaurants

Eat a mini-meal before dinner

Have mid-afternoon protein, fat and fibre-based mini-meal (small smoothie, hummus and veggie sticks) so you can make smart menu choices from a place of balanced blood sugar and stable hunger hormones. This is one important way to be able to stay health when dining out.

Choose a type of restaurant that focuses on healthier options

Certain types of restaurants lend themselves to eating clean, including sushi, tapas, Greek, Mediterranean, Asian and steakhouses. But by using the tips below, you can dine out pretty much anywhere and still be healthy (pizza joints however may be a no-go).

Choose for healthier drinks when dining out

Choose a sugar free soft drink (such as soda water and lime) if having a drink before the meal. If you do want to have alcohol, opt for a glass or champagne or Prosecco.

Consider going gluten-free

When dining out and on a weight or fat loss plan like my Lean and Clean program, I recommend asking for the gluten free menu. Most restaurants have one these days.

Skip the restaurant’s bread basket

When you sit down at the table, skip the bread basket. I usually ask for some olives instead if they have them.

Choose an appetizer that will help you feel full

Salad or soup helps boost fibre levels. This can make it easier to not overeat at the rest of the meal.

Avoid extra carbs with your entree

If looking for a healthier entree option, select your favorite protein from the menu. Be sure to ask your server if you can swap out the carb side dish for an extra serving of vegetable or a side salad.

Don’t have dessert if you’re drinking

You can stay on track with your diet or fat-loss program by using the either-or approach: Choose an extra glass of wine or a desert, not both! Keep reading for more tips on drinking alcohol if you’re trying to maintain a healthy diet.

Should you have alcohol when dining out if you’re on a diet?

I would love to say that alcohol does not have a negative impact on fat loss—quite honestly I love a glass of chilled prosecco or champagne and a great glass of red wine. But unfortunately, it does.

Our body will always burn any alcohol that is present first. So if you have a glass of wine (or three) on a Friday night then take a Soul Cycle class on a Saturday morning, you will have to burn through the alcohol first. Your body will get to any stored carbs next. And then finally, it might get to the stored body fat (but it’s doubtful).

Also alcohol is a source of empty calories and really has no nutrient value (although there are some antioxidants in organic red wine). So if you’re going to drink when on a weight loss program, choose your alcohol wisely.

Should you wish to indulge, healthier alcohol options include prosecco or champagne, clear spirits with club soda, or a polyphenol-rich glass of organic red wine.

Want to learn more about balancing your blood sugar, boosting your metabolism, and get your body into fat burning mode? You can start my life changing Lean and Clean Program at any time. Click below for details and to sign up now.

I’m a Holistic Nutritionist working in Boston, New York and London, and every week I answer one of your most pressing questions on gut health, weight loss, hormone balance, better sleep and more! Submit your questions to to have them answered on the site.

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