Dining out can be a really fun thing to do, but for those of us who are struggling with food sensitivities dining out can be a scary event.
Here are a few tips to help you stay healthy, and better enjoy, dining out:
Before looking at the menu ask yourself “What am I hungry for right now?” This will help you tune-in to what your body needs vs. what sounds/looks good on the menu.
Don’t leave home hungry & take food with you if you’re running errands to avoid getting hungry and having fast-food be the only option.
Research the menu ahead of time. This will give you a chance to search for what’s going to be the healthiest & safest choice for you. Call ahead and ask to talk to a manager if you have questions about food sensitivities.
Carry a small card with you that lists the foods you need to avoid. Hand the card to your server and ask him/her to give it to the chef and let you know what menu choices are safe for you.
Keep it simple. Some people prefer to eat more vegetarian when they go out to avoid polluted animal protein. Others prefer to stick to meat and mostly veggies. If you’re highly sensitive to MSG or natural flavor enhancers and to keep hidden gluten at bay ask that your food is not seasoned or marinated, and go with plain olive oil & sea salt for a salad dressing.
Always pair a salad with a high quality fat and a clean protein to maximize nutrient absorption.
Eat enough during the main meal to fill you up so dessert isn’t as tempting. If you do go for a dessert, split it with someone or ask for ½ of it to be wrapped up to take home before they bring it out.
Try drinking 8oz of room temperature water 30 minutes before the meal. This will hydrate you and prepare your digestive system while curbing intense hunger. Avoid drinking lots of cold liquid with the meal. A little warm or room temperature liquid to wash the meal down is fine, but any more than 4-8oz will dilute your stomach acid & slow your digestion leading to indigestion & decreased absorption.
Don’t be afraid to bring your own condiments. Slip a small container of olive oil & balsamic or your homemade dressing into your purse/bag to bring to the restaurant. And carry a can of cooked organic chicken for a quick salad topping if there isn't a good protein option available.
Refuse the bread they bring to the table. You don’t have to be tempted!
Jaime Ward, INHC, CGP, CBIN provides Functional & Integrative Nutrition Health Coaching for Women with Autoimmunity.
Jaime is Board Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, Certified in BioIndividual Nutrition, a Certified Gluten Practitioner, and currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Nutrition with a focus on Functional Medicine from The University of Bridgeport.
Jaime is also a speaker, a writer, a busy mom, and a Celiac Survivor. Jaime coaches with a Christian heart filled with lots of love, support and compassion.
For more information about how Jaime can help you, click here.