Let me preface this conversation by saying I’m not 100% Paleo 100% of the time. But, I do like to eat real, whole food as close to it’s original state as possible and preferably from sources that are organic, grass-fed, free range and the like. Oh, and I try to avoid gluten and dairy as much as possible tool! Taking all of this into consideration, you might think I’m one of those picky, elitist, yuppie eaters…and you would be right.
It would be easy to follow this type of lifestyle if I ate all my meals at home, but, well, that’s just not going to happen. I like to be out and about. I like to try new places (mostly for the ambiance, but as well the food) and I like to spend time with friends over a nice dinner or brunch. What’s a paleo-girl to do?
If you’ve recently gone paleo or are having trouble managing your diet while eating out, I have a few eating strategies that can help navigate almost any menu.
1. Appetizer: Go for a salad- a big green giant salad without any of the candied walnuts, dried fruit, cheese, croutons etc… Ask the server to go ask the kitchen to make you a nice big green salad, with other raw veggies and a side of olive oil and sea salt (or bring your own!) They might want to charge you another $2, but who cares if it’s going to save you from diving into your friends’ pork belly sliders. Plus, a large crunchy salad is going to be quite filling, making your main course a lot less important.
2. Main Course: Look for some kind of meat or fish that’s cooked in an easy, simple way without any fancy sauce. It could be a grilled steak or chicken, baked fish, or sautéed shrimp. Then, if it comes with something like fries or mashed potatoes, ask to switch for something like sautéed spinach, or steamed veggies, even rice or quinoa.
3. Dessert: If you are going 100% paleo, then you’ll probably need to steer clear of dessert and order a tea or coffee. However, if you’re like me and you like to try these forbidden sweets every once in a while, then order the dessert that you really want and have 4 glorious bites before handing it over to a friend to finish. Assuming you don’t have any food allergies, 4 bites won’t kill you, and you’ll get to satisfy your sweet tooth. For me it’s all about chocolate, so if there’s a chocolate mousse or chocolate fondant, sometimes I throw caution to the wind and have my 4 bites. What can I say, I like to live on the edge.
Anyway, if you’re out with friends or on a date, you are probably there to enjoy the company of other people, so who cares about the food, right!? 🙂 The point I’m trying to make is that it’s a shame when having a clean, healthy diet interferes with your social life. Don’t feel like you have to choose one or the other, as that can quickly lead down a slippery slope. Do your best to eat wholesome foods while dining out, even if it means being a little bit obnoxious. Know what to order, be polite, and maybe leave your server a nice tip for being accommodating.