Friends have invited you out for dinner. You don’t feel like cooking. You need a night away from the kids.
There’s a bunch of reasons why you might need or want to eat out of the house while doing the 21 Day Fix, but when you try to find a place with healthy options, you get overwhelmed quickly. What are you allowed to eat?
I’ve eaten at a handful of restaurants over both rounds of the 21 Day Fix that I’ve done. Some restaurants are helpful and list the calories right on their menu (thanks, Panera!). Others you have to do some digging.
In a perfect world, every restaurant would point out what their healthy options are and what is in all of them. This is not a perfect world. Unfortunately, eating out on this plan takes a bit of research ahead of time, but it is doable with the power of Google.
First thing is to find the website of the restaurant you are considering. Then dig through their website for their nutrition facts. If they don’t have a list of nutrition facts, I don’t even bother going.
Once you find this list, go down the list of entrees (ideally you want this to be a red container) until you see something that is relatively low in calories. I usually look for something in the 200-400 range without sides. Then check the sides to make sure they have veggies (green container) you like and that they don’t do anything crazy to them and jack up their calorie count. If you have a yellow container left for the day, you can work that in too.
Examples from restaurants I’ve eaten at!
6 oz classic sirloin with a side of steamed broccoli: one red, one green, 340 calories.
Rosemary chicken with a side of asparagus: one red, one green, less than 540 calories.
I think this includes the mashed potatoes it comes with, but I subbed them for asparagus.
Whole ancient grain, arugula, and chicken salad – minus slaw, plus spinach: one red, one green, one purple, one orange (vinaigrette), maybe a blue, 390 calories.
I subbed the cabbage slaw in this salad for the healthier (and yummier, in my opinion) spinach. The original calorie count for this salad is 420 calories, but Panera lets you customize their menu and see the accurate calories right on their website!
Bruschetta chicken with a side of asparagus: one red, one green, 400 calories.
Petite sirloin with broccoli and zucchini: one red, two greens, 354 calories.
What healthy options have you found at restaurants?