You're doing a cleanse, or trying a new uber-healthy way of eating. And you're beginning to wonder if you'll ever be normal again. You yearn to head out and enjoy a real meal, at a real restaurant, like a real girl (or boy).
It's totally possible and completely OK!
Let's make this happen.
Here are my best tips for dining out, now and forever:
1. Have a nice, big glass of lemon water when you're seated.
Drinking water will cut your hunger, hydrate you after a long day, and give you some energy. It'll also fortify you to make the good decisions, peruse the menu without going crazy, and allow you to calmly enjoy your company.
2. While cleansing, skip the wine, and order sparking mineral water and lime or lemon.
You've got this. After your cleanse, pick a number: ONE is best. A spritzer is a good option, too, unless you drink expensive, fine wines. Then, it's kind of a shame. Have one good glass instead.
3. Remove the bread basket.
You don't want to stare at those biscuits as they taunt you from the center of the table. Ask your waiter to please remove them. If your date is chowing down, nudge the basket across the table, out of reach.
4. Order salad as an appetizer, always.
You can never overdo your raw greens, so take advantage of fresh greens while you're out. If they offer an option with a few nuts, or slices of pear, go for it. Order your vinaigrette on the side, and make sure that it's real olive oil and vinegar, or lemon.
5a. If you're a healthy omnivore, have fresh fish.
Because most nice restaurants have daily fish deliveries, this is a good time to enjoy seafood, if you eat it. Order wild salmon or a wild caught fish that's not high in mercury. Ask for it baked or lightly sautéed in olive oil. Say no to sauce, unless you know it's just lemon and olive oil, or something similar. (Hate seafood? Try the chicken.)
5b. If you're a flexible vegetarian or vegan, order a vegetable platter, or grain and vegetables
Most restaurants have an assortment of fresh vegetables and you might be pleasantly surprised. Enjoy some brown rice, or quinoa if they have it. Only white rice? Move on. Your body will metabolize it as sugar. You may as well have a cupcake. (Well, almost....)
6. Take care of your digestion
You don't want this meal to bloat your belly (that dress is way too chic!) so practice food combining. If you're having grains for dinner, skip the protein. If you're having animal protein, skip the grains. Order a double vegetable side instead.
Like this: Ordering chicken or fish? Skip the side rice and double up on the broccoli. Craving the wholegrain pasta? Enjoy it with a simple vegetable marinara.
This will make dinner easier to digest, and you'll look svelte when you stand up.
7. Skip dessert.
You should be completely full and satisfied after this meal, so order an herbal tea and relax. That sly smile says it all.
You just ate out while cleansing!
Photo Credit: Christa Meola Pictures, Inc.