Oh! The perils of picking a restaurant, looking at a menu, asking the waiter what kind of oil they cook with, carefully selecting your choice with a few requests/changes and being brought out a bowl of lettuce… or something similar, probably not that extreme… (but seriously, one time at a wedding we got given a bowl of iceberg lettuce and red onion for our entree)… and being ridiculously disappointed that you have to pay $20 for a crappy bowl of lettuce.
Either that or you just say no to ALL dinner date requests because you feel too anxious at the thought of getting gluten-na-fied or interrogated by your date. We have ALSO been there.
SO! We’re here to help make sure that you DON’T get that bowl of lettuce. It’s the ULTIMATE guide of the questions to ask when eating out healthy.
Or! In our case: How To Order Paleo At a Restaurant. We have to give a shout out to Jacque one of our fave readers who requested this blog post, this is for you Jacque!
Let’s get in to it!
Take charge! Yes! It’s time to get assertive with your dinner date/s.
When someone asks “Where do you want to go?” Your answer will no longer be “Ohhh… I dunno, where do you wanna go?” Nope! That’s not you anymore.
YOU choose the restaurant! Don’t stress if it’s not labelled ‘healthy’ or ‘clean’ or ‘paleo’ just pick a place that has main meals, e.g. meat and veg. DO NOT pick a pizza place, pasta, crappy chinese, yum cha or something that is absolutely impossible to paleo-fy.
AMAZING! Now you have the restaurant, you can now study the menu PRIOR to your date. Yes. You are now also THAT person who knows what they’re going to order beforehand… BUT in the case that it’s an adhoc date or a maybe a special surprise (lucky you!) the next steps will still help guide you on how to order paleo at a restaurant.
Huge menu?! Eeek! DO NOT get overwhelmed.
Cross out the items that you know are just no-paleo-fy-goers. Things like pasta, bread, deep fried anything… don’t even try to go there. They don’t exist, they’re not on the menu.
Oh and MOST desserts (yep, we said it… we don’t go there because of the sugar, we just make sure we have a sweet treat waiting for us at home) are also off the list.
What’s left then?! All protein, all vegetables, (who cares if there’s white potato in something… it’s ONE MEAL!), most salads, all fruit, unprocessed dairy if you can handle it AND even on the fence stuff like quinoa. Great! So you’ve selected your meal.
NOW, these are the questions you need to ask to make sure you’re paleo-fying your meal as much as possible.
- Does the ENTER MEAL CHOICE HERE have gluten in it?
- I noticed ENTER MEAL CHOICE HERE comes with rice. Can I please swap that for ENTER PREFERRED VEGETABLE HERE (make sure chosen vegetable is part of another meal on their menu… point that out too, sometimes they’re cheeky and say no because it’s ‘too hard’!).
- Ask for sauce/dressing on the side… or just ask for none, they usually always contain sugar. If you need a dressing, ask for a side of olive oil!
- What kind of oil do you cook with?… oh, vegetable oil? (gross) Any chance you could cook my meal using butter? (This is a LONG SHOT but always worth an ask!).
- Seeing as I’m not getting the ENTER THINGS YOU DELETED OFF YOUR MEAL HERE could I please have extra veggies? (AGAIN a long shot… but it sometimes works!).
Here’s some examples of the exact scripts we’d say when ordering particular meals…
Burger: Can I please get the Grilled Chicken Burger, with out the bun, swap the cheese for an egg with no tomato sauce or mayonnaise. OR if you go to Grill’d (we do) you can order the low carb burger (below!).
Breakfast: Can I please get a plate made up with sides? Can I have a side of eggs, bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes (HOT TIP: ordering sides rather than a big breakfast and minus-ing items nearly ALWAYS works out to be cheaper… and easier!).
Salad: Can I please get the Grilled Salmon Salad but with no dressing. Are you able to bring me a side of olive oil and a wedge of lemon though?
Thai/curry: Can I get the braised chicken with ginger, that’s gluten free, right? No entrees, no rice but can I have a side of steamed green vegetables.
Boom! Healthy restaurant meals coming at ‘cha!
Do you have tips for eating healthy out? We’d LOVE to hear them! Leave us a comment below!
Emma + Carla
P.s maybe you just don’t wanna eat out… if that’s the case, then our brand new hard copy book might be what you’re looking for instead! Arh! We’re so proud of this baby! You’re going to LOVE IT!