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When discussing nutrition options and meal plans with my clients, I do hear, time and again, that starting one of our meal plans will be extremely difficult due to frequent restaurant activity. This cannot be further from the truth! Our highly popular Idea Protein Alternative Program calls for four Doctor’s Weight Loss medical grade products per day, along with one sensible meal. My clients assume they must prepare and cook one meal every day for the duration of the program, however, there are ways to get the same results even if you eat in restaurants.
Let’s face it--in today’s society, it’s commonplace to grab food (even everyday!) during your lunch hour in a restaurant or at a takeout establishment. And many evenings may consist of business dinners, happy hours, or the convenience of picking up food after a long day at work. This is reality for many of us, so I want to provide a strategy for weight loss even if you’re a frequent restaurant goer. Life happens (and so do work luncheons, birthdays, and other social gatherings), and we want you to have options so you can live your life accordingly, while still seeing dramatic results on a Doctor’s Weight Loss meal plan. Many think they have to give up their social lives or drastically re-arrange their eating schedule at the office to lose weight, and that can lead to procrastination for even starting a nutrition plan due to strict limitations. Yes, you can still go to restaurants and enjoy wonderful company (and maybe even a glass of wine…or two).
Keep in mind it can be beneficial to look online at restaurant menus before choosing where to grab your meal as some have far more weight loss-friendly options than others. If you end up somewhere without looking at food selections first, not to worry--you can get a healthy meal almost anywhere now-a-days! Of course you may have to modify your order, but making simple substitutions will turn a high-calorie, high-carbohydrate meal into one that is conducive to weight loss. Below are nine common restaurant scenarios which include high-carbohydrate and high sugar foods, along with the best alternative options.
Scenario One: You’re at a typical café and the server arrives with a basket of bread and butter.
Solution One: Before the bread even touches the table, just say “no thanks!”--you’ll be eating a full meal soon anyway.
Solution Two: Replace with a guacamole with veggie dippers.
Solution Three: Replace with a small starter salad with oil and vinegar.
Scenario Two: You’re at a more casual take out place with sandwiches, salads, and burgers.
Solution One: Just get it lettuce wrapped--most restaurants will oblige. Sorry, no fries but a side of green vegetables will do!
Solution Two: A hearty salad with protein and healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil that will keep you satiated.
Scenario Three: You’re at an Italian eatery and everyone is getting pizza and those types of flavors sound really appetizing.
Solution One: Beef carpaccio with additions such as arugula, cheese, olives, and tomatoes.
Solution Two: A meat and cheese charcuterie board with olives, nuts, and assorted fruits.
Solution Three: Caprese salad (tomato and mozzarella) topped with olive oil.
Scenario Four: You’re at a typical chain restaurant with standard meals that contain a protein with side dishes of pasta, rice, and potatoes.
Option One: Ask your server to remove all high-carbohydrate side dishes and replace with low-carbohydrate produce. For example, instead of steak with vegetables and mashed potatoes, replace the potatoes with more vegetables or a side salad.
Option Two: Ask your server to replace fried foods with grilled. For example, instead of fried chicken, mac and cheese, and vegetables, opt for grilled chicken, beans, and vegetables.
Scenario Five: You’re at happy hour and friends for drinks and small plates.
Option One: You celebrate your new weight loss journey with brut sparkling wine and oysters.
Option Two: You relax with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and cheese board with nuts and olives.
Option Three: You pair a buttery Chardonnay with a steamed artichoke, freshly squeezed lemon, and a little melted butter for dipping.
Scenario Six: You’re grabbing Mexican food for taco Tuesday.
Option One: Shrimp, steak, or chicken fajitas with guacamole, shredded cheese, and salsa--ask for lettuce cups or eat as a platter.
Option Two: Chile verde platter of pork, green sauce, sour cream, and guacamole--skip the rice, beans, and tortillas!
Scenario Seven: You’re out for Chinese or Vietnamese food, or for sushi.
Option One: Beef and broccoli and egg drop soup instead of a noodle dish.
Option Two: Vietnamese Pho (meat, noodle, herb, and vegetable soup)--ask for no noodles and extra veggies and herbs--this is a standard option on most menus!
Option Three: At sushi, instead of a role with rice, ask for it to be wrapped in cucumber--this, too, is a standard option on most menus!
Scenario Eight: You pop into Starbucks before work.
Option One: A grande coffee with cream or almond milk and a splash of sugar-free syrup.
Option Two: Egg bites (eggs with cheese and veggies, or eggs with cheese and bacon), string cheese, and mashed avocado. These items are offered ala carte and make an easy low-carbohydrate breakfast on-the-go.
Scenario Nine: You’re out to breakfast or brunch with family and friends.
Option One: Omelet with vegetables and cheese, with small side of tomatoes and/or berries, and coffee.
Option Two: Eggs Benedict with no bread base (most restaurants will make it this way); ask to add fresh produce such as asparagus, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
Since many dining establishments have been joining in on the health-conscious movement, most restaurants will provide the above lower glycemic options. One of the key reasons as to why our Doctor’s Weight Loss meal plans (click here to see them) produce an overall average weight loss of 15 pounds per month for our customers is the fact that they are low in carbohydrates and sugar. It is proven nutrition science that high-glycemic carbs turn in to sugar and sugar turns into fat, if not burned, so our meal plans drastically reduce your sugar intake, while tasting amazing.