There’s a high chance that during your 30 day journey you’ll get tired of cooking [again], you’ll get bored with your meals, or you’ll simply want to go out with your friends! Navigating your way through the restaurant scene during a Whole30 can seem overwhelming because of the things you *can’t* have — cheese, bread, beans, butter, pasta, etc. Focusing on the things you *can’t* have will make this process so much tougher! Instead try thinking about all the delicious things you can have — fresh fruit, grilled meats, wild caught fish + all the veggies you could dream of!
It might take a little extra effort, but the result is worth it if it means you’ll be sticking to your goals! We’re sharing a *how to guide* for eating out on the Whole30 to make your experience a breeze!
THINK OF YOUR WHOLE30 AS A JOURNEY.
Each day, remind yourself you’re making these choices because you value your health + you want to learn more about your body, instead of thinking of it as a month of depriving yourself of things. Stepping into a restaurant feelin’ excited about what you can eat will make it easier to pass on your *go-to* order from the past.
SO, JUST WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?
Keep in mind that you might have to ask for substitutions in your dish. Starting with a dish that will only require a simple change or two will be much easier than trying to order something packed full of Whole30 no-no’s. Choosing a restaurant with great options to begin makes this process much easier + will help you to avoid feeling like a burdening customer.
//You don’t have to skip out on your beloved weekend brunch! Many breakfast places can whip up your eggs cooked with EVOO [extra virgin olive oil!] if you request it, or poached + baked eggs are a safe option! Sub that toast//bagel for mixed veg [baked, cooked in EVOO, or ask for water sauteed] + fresh fruit.
//Tacos, tacos, + more tacos! Taco places may just become your new best friend [if they weren’t already ; )] Grilled chicken + steak are safe choices. Shrimp + pulled pork + fish are also sometimes cooked in ways that are also compliant! So many options! Some places have small *lettuce bowls* so you can enjoy different kinds of tacos, or order your tacos as a big salad! If you don’t want to miss out on the chips + guac experience — you can bring your own veggies to dip in the guac [carrots, cucumber, baby snack peppers, etc] or there’s no shame in asking for a spoon!
//Mediterranean restaurants often use EVOO in most of their dishes, which will eliminate the need to ask for cooking oil substitutions — yay! Skip the pita + hummus and ask for some veggies + olives to enjoy as an app. Many places have fish + veg or delicious salads you can order as your main.
//Steak houses are fantastic choices if you’re looking for fancier option. Fish, chicken + steak can all be ordered off the grill with a side of mixed veggies.
//Have a love for sushi? YEP. You can still order that too. Ask for your rolls *naruto style* — made without rice + with cucumber instead of nori [seaweed]. [It’s so yummy you might even continue this after the Whole30!] Load up on the veggies + your fish of choice + bring your own coconut aminos for dipping.
//You don’t have to hide from Italian restaurants either! But come with a strong willpower to prevent the smell of pizza from knocking you off track! Ask for chicken or fish over a side of veggies instead of the usual heaping mound of pasta. Many places make their own meatballs + sausage — with couple of questions to your server, you might be happy to learn these are often safe options!
A LITTLE PREPARATION NEVER HURTS.
Now that you know some of your options — looking at the menu ahead of time + thinking of your options will save you some time + be easier for your server! Most restaurants post their menus on their websites. But if you still are uncertain of how certain dishes are prepared [like what type of oil, or the ingredients in sauces] pick up the phone + give the restaurant a call. You might feel a little uncomfortable doing this, but it’ll save you from asking those questions on the spot.
AHH, YOU’VE FINALLY CHOSEN WHERE TO GO + WHAT TO ORDER!
It’s healthy, sounds delicious + will help you stay true to your Whole30! Sounds perfect right? Well, sometimes things don’t workout that way. Try + pick at least one backup option you could order — say if the restaurant runs out of a certain ingredient. If you simply *must* have your first choice — be prepared to speak up + send the dish back if it is not prepared the way you asked. This could be an awkward experience, but explaining to your server that you’re doing a Whole30 ahead of time can help to prevent any troubles. Many people are somewhat aware of what a Whole30 entails, but voicing your needs clearly + kindly will make you ordering process much smoother for everyone involved.
NAVIGATING THE WORLD OF DRINKS.
If everyone ordering a mimosa with their brunch? What about a marg with their tacos? Wine with their dinner? If you don’t want to stick to coffee, tea or plain water — you don’t have to! Mineral//seltzer//sparkling water are used sometimes interchangeably with club soda + each is *bubbly* water without any added sugars. Be careful not to confuse these with tonic water — which does contain quite a bit of sugar. Ask for your glass with a splash of pure citrus juice or blackberries + mint to spice it up!
NOW, THE QUESTION OF DESSERT?
If you’ve read It Starts With Food, you know that it is against the spirit of the *Whole30* to indulge in treats. This is true, but there are some options to help you get through this. If you’re out to dinner for a special celebration + everyone orders dessert, try asking your server for a small bowl of fresh fruit, like berries [just ask them to hold any cream]. If you feelin’ full from your awesome meal, but still want something to keep your focus away from everyone’s dessert — order a cup of tea. An herbal or fruit blend of tea can give you the satisfaction you were looking for from a *treat* + helps you avoid that *just one spoonful* someone may offer you.
Good luck in all your Whole30 restaurant adventures!
Have you eaten in any restaurant during your Whole30? Where did you go + what did you order? Do you have any advice?
I’ve been to a couple of coffee places + ordered black coffee + a piece of fruit which helped me to avoid any bagel cravings. I also went to dinner at a local taco place with a few friends. It was tough to avoid the offered sip of a margarita + the chips sitting in front of me — but I did it! The taco bowls were delicious, but the servings of protein were smaller than what I needed. I actually came home + ate some grilled chicken because I still needing protein to fill me up! It happens, but rolling with the obstacles isn’t too bad!
+Teresa [@tasandoval], OSU CHAARG