We are strong believers at Paleo Hero HQ that social connection and interaction is of vital importance to our overall health and wellness. As we know opportunities for connection often comes with sharing food. We have personally experienced the social isolation that can happen if we cut ourselves off from sharing in these experiences because we are doing 'paleo', 'keto', 'vegan', etc. Through experience, and trial and error, we now aim for a balanced approach to navigating the minefield of eating out when you are trying to follow some type of dietary protocol. This can generally still be achieved at most restaurants even if you have specific dietary restrictions and intolerances. It is important you let them know of your specific needs prior to dining out so they are informed and you are equipped for how to approach that venue.
Tip 1 Check the menu.
Before you go, check out the menu online so you have an idea of what you might like to order. You can even call the restaurant ahead to ask any questions.
Tip 2 Don't let perfect get in the way of good.
By this we mean sometimes we can't always make the perfect choice when eating out (ie grass-fed, unicorn-blessed beef fillet), but we can most likely get a decent steak, chicken or fish dish. Just because it's not 'perfect' or exactly what you would make at home doesn't mean the only other alternative is deep fried pizza... Unless of course that's what you feel like then by all means enjoy that.
Tip 3 Choose Lean.
Now you know that we are NOT scared of fat by any means. However, if you are not 100% sure of the meat quality at a particular restaurant and that concerns you, opt for the leaner cuts of meat. Generally speaking commercially raised animals will store all the toxins in their fat so leaner cuts of meat will be a better choice.
Tip 4 Load up on veggies.
Pretty much every menu you come across will have vegetable or salad options so skip the chips fried in vegetable oil and load your plate with vegetables.
Tip 5 Skip the bread.
It's not that hard, just choose a starter that is olives or chicken skewers, etc. instead of the bread and dips.
Tip 6 Communicate.
Let the staff at the restaurant and with the people you are eating with know what your dietary needs are. Explain to them that you are not eating XYZ because it doesn't make you feel good but it's absolutely fine if they want to. If people pressure you or question your choices it speaks volumes about THEM not you. You do you and eat what makes you feel good. Maybe even take the initiative to suggest the restaurant so you know it will cater for you.
Tip 7 Enjoy it!
Time spent with your 'tribe' should be filling you up so enjoy that experience. If you just decide 'to hell with paleo' for the night and tuck into some delicious pasta, enjoy that experience. There is no such things as 'bad foods' just enjoy your meal and make sure your next meal is one that makes you feel good, nourishes your body and supports your goals. A pasta dinner does not need to spiral into a week long food binge ending with you knee deep in Ben & Jerry's.
We hope these tips can help you navigate the world of eating out. In more recent years we have found that it's easier and easier to make some great choices at most cafes and restaurants (obviously we aren't talking about Hungry Jack's). Restaurants are often more than happy to accommodate requests if you take the time to ask. And smile, always smile!