I'm beginning a series of posts about healthy choices you can make while dining out. These posts were inspired by numerous clients seeking my advice regarding what to order when eating at a restaurant.
Do you need to be a hermit and avoid restaurants altogether when following a specific dietary plan? Absolutely not. However, it's important to have a few healthy tricks in your back pocket for when these opportunities arise, in order to prevent your plan from going completely off the tracks.
Come along with me as we explore today's breakfast diner edition: my visit to Sweetwater Cafe, in Charleston, SC.
Breakfast Diners: French Toast, Biscuits & Gravy, and Huevos Rancheros-OH MY!
So many delicious, but calorically-dense options to choose from! Generally speaking, many diner-style restaurant menus will be jam-packed with calorie-laden, "comfort foods", i.e. foods that may give you an initial surge of energy, but leave you running on empty well before lunch. We want to view our food as fuel and ask ourselves, "What will this food do for my body?" With that in mind, here's a few tips for diner-style eating.
1. Swap lattes for regular coffee. The lattes are full of sugar and packed with calories. If you aren't one to drink your coffee black, add a splash of half and half or even stevia to your regular coffee. (Stevia does not increase blood sugar levels) This will save you from both the added calories and the sugar crash.
2. Avoid juice. Most fruit juices are also full of sugar and provide very little nutritional benefit. Instead, order real fruit as a side item and enjoy eating your calories instead of drinking them away.
3. You can't go wrong with eggs. If you choose an omelet, ask for cheese or any additional condiments (sour cream, salsa, etc.) on the side. It's easy to lose track of portions for these items, unless you're adding it yourself.
4. Choose protein sides (bacon, sausage, etc.) instead of starchy sides (hash browns, grits, home fries, etc.). These will keep you satiated longer and won't leave you tired and foggy. Additionally, the proteins don't have added fats like most starchy sides do (additional butter, salt, oils, etc.).
5. Ask for whole wheat (dry) toast or an English muffin instead of a bagel, baguette, muffin, etc. The toast or English muffin will contain far fewer calories. If you'd like, you can add butter to it at the portion of your choosing.
6. Some places may allow you to swap the bread for either tomato slices or avocado at no extra charge. By doing this, you can eliminate the gluten altogether and save yourself from the "carb crash".
I hope these tips provided a little bit of insight for some easy swaps you can make in your dining future! It is possible to eat out when you're adhering to a dietary plan. It's just important to have a plan before diving in!
Disclaimer: Results may vary. These are my opinions and statements based on the latest, educated research and are not to be intended to replace the advice of your doctor. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Fueled and Fit Wellness are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service.