Welcome back to another week of Whole30 in review! This week, I’m going to address a hot-button topic- How to order Whole30 compliant meals when you are out.
As much as you may meal prep and plan, sometimes things just happen. Sometimes you have an unexpected party to attend, birthday dinner with a friend or family member, or maybe you just forgot to thaw the ground turkey you needed and now you are starving with nothing prepared (ahem, guilty!). If you find yourself in these situations, it can be tempting to say screw it, I’ll just get pizza. But if you are three weeks in, and decide it is worth sticking it out, you’ll need to be prepared to order off a restaurant menu. I have three main strategies to help you navigate the Whole30 restaurant process:
- Do your homework! If your friends have invited you to go out to eat to a specific location, look up the menu ahead of time. Most places will have ingredient/nutrition information posted on their website. Take a look at the menu, and figure out ‘safe’ options. Most of the time, your safest bet will be to order a grilled chicken/steak/protein (ask for no butter!), and a side of steamed veggies (be careful of the seasoning and oil/butter).
- If the location isn’t pre-determined, you should absolutely still do your homework, and perhaps be the person to suggest a location that you know will accommodate your dietary concerns. You know your local restaurants the best- some are great about accommodating special requests, and others refuse to let you substitute anything.
- Be prepared to be THAT person. Yes, I mean you. The one who asks the waiter/waitress a lot of questions, and makes special requests. That doesn’t mean you need to scream it across the restaurant, or make a big deal out of it. In fact, I highly suggest you try to do it as low-key as possible, unless you want the topic of conversation all meal to be your personal nutrition choices. Anther thing to keep in mind- you should NEVER use the word ‘allergy’ to discuss a food restriction. Food allergies are a very serious topic, especially in restaurants, and a personal choice surrounding food choices does not classify as an allergy. People without food allergies claiming allergies for special treatment can lead to servers/restaurants not taking these requests seriously, and causing lax treatment of food served to people with actual allergies. Think of it as a “boy calling wolf” scenario.
We have discussed how to navigate menu’s while completing a Whole30, but I would also like to point out several chains that I know have Whole30 safe choices as ‘set’ menu options. These can be great places to suggest for meals out with friends/family/date night, or when you forgot to/didn’t have time to meal prep.
Zoe’s Kitchen: This place has an entire Whole30 certified menu. It is also relatively quick food, so a great option in a pinch. Check out their compliant menu here:
Chipotle: They now have a ‘Whole30 Bowl’ option on their app. You must be careful here though, because they use soybean oil to cook most of their food (all the meat except carnitas and the vegetables), so you are actually VERY limited in what you can order here. The ‘safe’ order is as follows: Salad (no dressing), carnitas, any of the salsas (except the one with corn), guacamole. Since Chipotle is a pretty common chain, this is a great fallback option.
Whole Foods: The Whole Foods salad bar is a great option. They list their ingredients on every single item in the salad bar, so you can easily find safe options depending on what they have each day. Just be sure to carefully read the labels of all meats and cooked items for sneaky ingredients like oils/butter/seasonings. Pro tip: bring your own salad dressing, use a salsa, or buy a bottle of salad dressing there.
Five Guys: This chain has one true option: a burger wrapped in lettuce. They don’t use seasonings or oil to cook them, so you are fine to order a burger in a lettuce wrap. Just be careful of condiments (mustard is fine) and any cooked veggies (oil). I’d steer clear of this place if the smell of fresh-fried French fries will crush your willpower (or your soul).
Last but not least, I figured I would share what I ate/prepped this week for a little inspiration:
Whole30 Breakfast Sandwiches (so delicious and SO EASY)
Roasted Veggies & Eggs
Asian Lettuce Wraps
Naked Philly Cheesesteak Plates
Asian Garlic Noodles
Bratwursts, Air-fryer potatoes and Brussell Sprouts
Mexican Veggie Bake
Carnitas Loaded Sweet Potato Fries
Meal prep/Food Schedule:
I hope you enjoyed this Whole30/healthy eating post, and can put some of my restaurant advice into use!
Until next time,
Follow along on IG: @amandadev4