Make the Most of the Menu

For times when you are on the road, or decide to go out, use these ordering tips to navigate any menu, make the most out of any situation and not sacrifice your health.

Neighborhood joints you can trust – in my opinion, these are gold. While you can sometimes find decent options at large chains, I would always recommend seeking out smaller neighborhood joints that you can trust- the type of places that will have no problem answering questions on how their food is prepared, what ingredients they use, etc. A trustworthy local restaurant is worth its weight in gold if you are someone who likes to eat out often. When ordering, choose entrees that are protein and vegetable-centric, as opposed to dishes where noodles, pasta, or rice are the main focus. Choose foods prepared in a straightforward way (roasted, baked, grilled), and avoid sticky sauces and and glazes.

Fast chains – Fresh and healthy fast-casual chains are becoming more and more popular. You can definitely find and put together decent options at places like this. When ordering off of the menu- choose lean proteins, olive oil and vinegar for dressing whenever possible, ask for dressings, sauces, and mayo on the side, and if possible skip the cheese and ask for extra protein or avocado instead (or both!). Remember that these tweaks aren’t about making your meal “skinny” or lower in calories – these tweaks will increase your consumption of protein and healthy fats as opposed to ingredients that will weigh you down without adding much added benefit for your health. Regardless of your stance on dairy – like it, love it, or avoid it- cheeses and cream-based sauces and dressings available at chain restaurants are highly processed and will contain a plethora of random ingredients- my recommendation would be to avoid this type of dairy altogether. This isn’t new news, but Panera has a hidden menu that contains lean, protein rich basic bowls without bread. Try it out next time you are there!

While making these adjustments to your order might have you feeling like “that guy” or “that girl” just remember, restaurants are in the business of serving customers and they make permanent changes to their menus based on customer feedback and requests! One example is the gluten free menu craze- They wouldn’t exist if consumers didn’t make their preferences known.

Use these quick tips to stay healthy and not sacrifice your hard earned gains next time you are at a restaurant! If you have any specific questions about ordering out or staying healthy- let us know at

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