Eating out is a luxury that we are so blessed to have. However, it can sometimes be challenging to eat healthfully and on plan in such settings. Which is where this THM friendly eating out guide comes in handy.
First, I’m going to give you some general guidelines that can be applied at just about any restaurant. Then I’ll dive into individual restaurants (from fast food to casual dining) to give you ideas for eating on plan there.
A Few Pointers
- Plan ahead. There is possibly nothing more important than planning ahead. Whenever possible, decide what you’re going to order BEFORE you go to order. Thanks to the internet, almost every single restaurant has its menu available to view online. If a restaurant doesn’t have a website, they might have their menu on their Facebook page or there might be a snapshot of it with their Google ratings.
In general, S meals will be easier to aim for. Some restaurants will have keto options which sometimes work for an S meal. However, it is possible to have an E or even an FP meal, you just have to look a little harder.
- Aim for best choices. Not everything at some restaurants will be fully on plan. Some restaurants are harder than others. And some food items will go a little over the given THM numbers, which is perfectly fine as long as this eating out is an occasional treat and not a regular thing. Remember to leave about 3 hours of not eating after you finish your eating out meal.
- Make special requests. Most restaurants are perfectly fine with tweaking their menu items to fit your healthy eating lifestyle, so take advantage of this. Request things like the bun be removed, the fries be omitted, or dressings and sauces be placed on the side.
- Be present. When you’re eating your meal, take your time and enjoy each bite. Listen to your body’s cues–eat until you are just satisfied, not stuffed. You should also enjoy your atmosphere–take in your surroundings with all the senses, enjoy your companions, and delight in the overall experience. This not only helps you to not overeat, but it also helps with proper digestion.
- Take leftovers home. Request a to go box or otherwise save any leftovers that remain after you have reached the satisfied threshold. There is no requirement to clean your plate.
- Alcohol. Alcohol really should be avoided during weight loss mode. It adds empty calories, causes dehydration, and can weaken your resistance to unhealthy choices.
- Coffee. Coffee is a diuretic as well (causes potential dehydration because it makes you pee a lot), but it can be enjoyed on plan. Black is the leanest way to go, but adding a bit of half and half or pure cream and some on plan sweetener are good too. Check out my homemade on plan powdered coffee creamer as it is great to bring with you on the go.
- Soda. Sodas sweetened with on plan sweeteners are the most ideal to enjoy (and I have seen some restaurants that offer sodas like Zevia), but not always present. You can however choose to enjoy a diet soda as a personal choice item on rare occasions (keep in mind the artificial sweetener in it is NOT conducive to weight loss). I myself have been known to get some Coke Zero on very rare occasions. You could also bring along your own can of on plan soda.
- Tea. Unsweetened iced tea or hot tea are great on plan beverages. Bring your own sweetener if you don’t like it plain. You can also ask for lemon wedges.
- Vitamin Water Zero Sugar. If a restaurant has Vitamin Water Zero Sugar, most of these are sweetened with stevia or erythritol and are therefore on plan.
- Water. Water is always the optimal choice. You can jazz it up with a lemon wedge or bring some of your own on the go THM friendly flavoring options.
- Avoid. I don’t know about you, but I’m usually too stuffed after eating out to even consider a dessert. So, if possible, just avoid dessert.
- Fruit. If you must have it, aim for a fruit bowl of berries for an S or FP meal or other fruits for an E. Just make sure they aren’t coated in sugar in any form.
- Coffee. Coffee isn’t technically a dessert, but it is a good, tasty way to end a meal without going overboard or off plan.
- Mint, gum, or toothbrush. To end your meal without indulging in dessert (especially if others you’re with are indulging), pop in an on-plant mint or gum or even excuse yourself to the bathroom to brush your teeth.
This gives a general idea of things to order at some common types of restaurants. To view, click on the restaurant category to toggle it open. If you have further ideas to add to any of these, please let me know in a comment below!
See an item or a restaurant that’s incorrect, has changed, is no longer available, or hasn’t yet been added? Please let me know!
Stay on Plan on the Go Pack
Check out my article that gives you some good ideas of things to keep handy when you’re on the go.
Steak Image by karandaev
Friends in Restaurant Image by viewapart
Takeout Containers Image by travelman
This is amazing! Thanks, tj!