You can encounter serious problems if you dine away from home on a whole foods diet. For example, a whole food nutritional approach is virtually unheard of in Australia. If you live in the United States, the problem is not as big, but it still exists. As you know, most of the food served in restaurants has been highly processed and is far from natural and plant-based. Practice the following six tips and you can eat out on a whole foods diet without feeling like you are cheating.
1. Remember That Perfection Is Not Necessary
If you eat predominantly whole foods and enjoy a limited number of processed foods, you are still going to boost your health considerably. Don’t turn down the occasional opportunity to enjoy a meal away from home with the ones you love simply because you are trying to be a whole foods perfectionist. You can still eat smart and enjoy the company of your friends and family.
2. Eat a Whole Foods Soup or Salad Before Heading Out
This is a trick Dr. Oz and other plant-based eaters use. Soup is voluminous in your stomach. It takes up a lot of room. So does a healthy, nutrient-dense, high-fiber salad. Eat a bowl of soup or a salad before you head to a restaurant and you will find yourself eating less non-whole foods.
3. Do Your Research Ahead of Time
Head over to HappyCow.net. This website lets you search for plant-based and vegetarian restaurants in your area. The site also has a HappyCow app you can download to your smartphone or tablet. You can also perform a web search for “plant-based restaurant applications” or “vegetarian restaurant apps”. These handy pieces of software let you know what options are available in your area for sticking to your whole foods diet.
4. Avoid the Bread
Your waiter or waitress may tell you there is a whole-wheat dinner roll option. Skip this and any other bread item, regardless of what you are told. Unless you can thoroughly verify that breadcrumbs, pasta, breading, tortillas, crusts and other breaded items are 100% whole food-friendly, they should be avoided.
5. Skip The Kid’s Menu for Your Children
Just about everything on a kid’s menu is highly processed. Choose à la carte items like a side order of steamed vegetables instead. You can also piece together a child’s plate from larger adult dishes and entrées.
6. Ask A Lot Of Questions
Your server may not know the answers to all the questions you are going to ask. Ask them anyway. Let them know you are on a special whole foods diet for health reasons. Tell them you are entirely okay with them finding out the answers to your questions if they don’t know them. Make sure to tip accordingly after requiring your server to spend a lot of time at your table.
Many people believe that eating unprocessed foods means that they will no longer be able to eat out with friends. But that doesn’t have the be the case. Using these simple tips and making a few strategic plans in advance will help you to enjoy social gatherings the same way you always have. And the best part is that it will get easier. Meaning after the first few times you eat out, the above tips will come naturally to you.