HOW TO EAT OUT - WITHOUT MISSING OUT
Whether you're dining out or invited over for dinner, eating in social situations whilst honoring your dietary goals or preferences doesn't have to anxiety inducing!
After being gluten-free for six years and vegan for more than one, I'm no stranger to the deflating feeling of telling your best friend to can't make it, or looking more forward to leaving than the event itself. Eating is a social experience and it should be enjoyed! Every time you take a bite, it should be a celebration of flavors, nourishment, and appreciation for what is on your plate and who you're sharing it with. It should also be a celebration of YOU and YOUR individual choices. Your meal should be just as good for you and it is tasting, guilt-free and painless!
Without further ado, here are my top 5 tips for how to eat out - without missing out!
Check out the menu online beforehand to look over the options. Have any questions? Give the restaurant a call! Doing a little research beforehand can save you a lot of time and anxiety so that you're prepared and the restaurant knows you're coming. It helps knowing what your options are before you get there so you can plan accordingly and even get excited for a tasty dining experience!
Snacks are key! If you're nervous about your meal options when dining out with a group, I always bring back-up reinforcements! Grab a quick snack for on-the-go to make it through the event. Something small enough to fit in your bag, but substantial enough to feel satisfied like a granola bar, bag of nuts or an apple is great.
My #1 rule... ASK QUESTIONS! When dining out, you never know what could possibly be mixed into a recipe or cross contaminated. It is SO important to know what is in your food and how it's being handled in the kitchen when navigating important dietary preferences (especially for my celiac friends or those of you avoiding an allergy!). Always make sure to tell your server your dietary preferences! They'll be able to tell you whether something is safe to eat and even provide tasty recommendations on the menu.
Customizing a meal gets a bad rap, but I am a full-on advocate for it! I'm usually that person at the table who spends the most time talking to the server and subbing out ingredients for other things. Honoring your dietary preferences is one of the most important things you can do for your health, wellness and overall well-being. I applaud LOUDLY for you going after your goal and staying true to yourself. If it takes a little longer to order your dish, you do you. Most restaurants and servers are happy to accommodate and want you to enjoy your experience so that you come back, and brings friends.
THE "SIDES" SECTION IS YOUR FRIEND
When in doubt, head over to the "Sides" section of the menu. Ordering a bunch of diet-approved sides is actually my favorite thing to do when dining out in uncharted territory! This way you know you're eating diet-approved selections and have the opportunity to try a bunch of different mini dishes and flavors!