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A Foodie’s Guide to Staying Healthy While Dining Out

Let’s talk about foods with benefits.

January 16, 2019

By Daphne Dilworth

It’s the same thing every year: January rolls around, and it’s gym, sunscreen, laundry. We’re turning over new leaves in 2019, resetting the personal iOS with good intentions and better habits—but what if you’re a foodie who loves to eat out? And the thought of subsisting on only sad, undressed mixed greens for the foreseeable future sends you into shivery horror fits, the likes of which you’ve only experienced in the haunted mansion at PNE’s Fright Nights?

Relax, fellow Chopped, Top Chef and Kitchen Confidential lovers! You can still dine out without undoing all the good progress you’ve made with your new “tough love” trainer, Sven. Here are a few “eating healthy-ish even though you’re eating out” tips, inspired by Milestones’ limited-time Superfoods Menu, to help you out:

1. Avoid “Crunchy” Chicken

Ignorance is bliss. When the menu says “crunchy” chicken tacos or “crunchy” chicken Caesar wrap, we know that you know it really means “deep-fried in buttermilk and/or beer batter.” So, stop kidding yourself, and try to order the grilled chicken once in a while instead.

2. Feign an Intolerance to Butter

Ordering a side of vegetables sounds pretty healthy, right? If only these veggies didn’t sit in a bowl, positively drenched in butter. While saying you’re allergic to something (when you’re really not) is a jerk move, telling the server you have a strong dislike or “intolerance” for butter means you’ll get side veg that’s prepared fresh, separate from the big butter bowl and without all that extra fat.

3. The World’s Sins are Hiding in the Mash

We all love mashed potatoes: they’re like comforting butter pillows that magically make life’s problems disappear. Restaurants are experts at making mashed potatoes taste amazing, but they do this by adding all the cream, sour cream, cheese, salt and butter that those tots can take. Our tip: Save the mash for special occasions and opt for more superfood veg instead. For example, Milestones’ new January-friendly Superfood Menu (only available until February 24!) has a Pan-Seared Rainbow Trout dish that’s served on a bed of colourful spaghetti squash, roasted mushrooms, kale and baby spinach instead of the usual spuds.

4. Plate Size: Bigger is Not Better

Have you seen your grandma’s china set? All the plates look child-sized, right? That’s because plates have gotten bigger—and food portions along with them. Be conscious of your appetite and the size of your meal. If it’s more than you need, try eating half or three-quarters of your plate when it’s served and getting the other half to go (that’s lunch tomorrow!) or sharing it with your bestie. At the end of the day, though, it’s more about being aware of what’s in your dish than how much there is of it. Ordered something remotely healthy? Then go ahead, dig in!

5. “Could I Get My Salad Dressing on the Side?”

It’s a classic request for a reason. Dressings can be packed with sugar and fat; plus, what’s worse than an overdressed, soggy pile o’ greens? It’s in everyone’s best interest if you DIY, which is another component of the wildly popular power and buddha bowls. Milestones’ Ahi Tuna Power Bowl is a great restaurant go-to, as it’s stuffed with nourishing veggies, grilled pineapple and rice noodles. Bonus: another great reason to order a buddha bowl instead of a traditional salad is that all the ingredients are on top where you can see ‘em. Opt for bowls packed with nuts, seeds, legumes and superfood proteins, and drizzle your dressing from a ramekin as needed.

When picking a dining destination, seeking out restaurants that are adding healthier options to their menus, with fresh (not pre-packaged) foods, is a great place to start. You can still enjoy yourself and jump face-first into exciting new dishes to keep those healthy New Year’s resolutions. These are just a few tips to help you reach for some healthier options more often, or introduce some moderation to offset the more indulgent foods you’d never want to give up entirely (Chestnut Espresso Crème Brûlée, we can’t quit you!).

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