I was asked on my Facebook page about how to eat clean while you are out to eat, and since I haven't made anything new in the kitchen (yet) I thought today would be the perfect day to give a few tips.
Look for the basics. You want to start by looking at the menu and seeing what protein, carb, and fat options you have. I usually check to see if they serve any grilled chicken dishes or even if they have grilled chicken sandwiches. Fish is also a good option to look for as long as it's not battered. As far as carbs go, I'm usually out of luck because most carbs that restaurants serve all have gluten in them, so after I choose my protein I typically scour the menu for veggies. If a side of steamed veggies is not an option you can always go with a salad (no cheese, no croutons) with oil and vinegar dressing.
Know how to order. When you've decided what you are going to eat, make sure you order everything without butter, salt, or oil. Also, you want to make sure to get any sauces or condiments on the side (or just have them leave it off altogether). For example, this past weekend I went out to lunch with my family at BJ's Brewery. I ordered their turkey burger with no sauce, no bun, no cheese, and a side salad with oil and vinegar. The burger came with sliced avocado and I dipped in mustard, so my protein, fat, and veggies were covered.
Stay away from the "extras". There are so many more temptations at restaurants than there are at home, so you have to go in to it knowing that you may need a little more will-power than usual. There is probably going to be a bar or at the very least your favorite strawberry lemonade or diet soda. Always stick with water or unsweetened tea! Next, the bread basket is your enemy. Unless you are sure that it is whole wheat or whole grain bread you should resist. Plus, it's never good to eat a carb by itself anyway, so just stay away! Then of course, there is the dessert menu. Need I say more?
If you are able to follow these three simple rules, you don't have to worry about eating out every once and a while. I still prefer to eat at home most of the time, because you are never really sure that the restaurant is following your instructions when they prepare the food, what the quality of the food is, or if there is leftover butter, oil etc. from what was cooked before your meal. It's also helpful to look for healthy restaurants in your area- places that are diligent about gluten free food preparation and those that tout food quality are usually the best options. Hope this helps!