Wholefood eating tips for restaurants

 Photo Credit: Goodness Gracious Cafe - Graceville, Brisbane

Photo Credit: Goodness Gracious Cafe - Graceville, Brisbane


Restaurant choices can be difficult for a lot of people! It can be tricky to decide what really is the best thing to order to maintain eating wholefoods & still enjoy the treat of going out. Here are some simple & easy to stick by tips to get you through ordering at restaurants.


1. Steer clear of the breads


A lot of restaurants serve breads that are usually white, pre-purchased products that are cheap for them to buy and are usually served with a big serving of butter or olive oil. Very rarely do you find a restaurant that may have a rye variety available or even a homemade option so it is best to just stay away.


2. Share an entrée


The best way to stick with your wholefood goals is to share an entrée! This way, you get to try other flavours without ruining your main meal & you’re not going overboard and ordering too much. Often people at restaurant tend to order multiple beers or drinks, an entrée to themselves + sides & then may even reach for a dessert…by the end of their dinner, they have already exceeded their calories for the day & they’re off home to bed where your body doesn’t get the opportunity to digest that big meal properly.


Stick to entrees that include seafood such as ‘grilled’ calamari, scallops or ceviche fish, or even a soup or grilled meat option. Anything steamed such as dumplings is always a good choice as well! Just be careful of the sauce that accompanies your entrée, as often these sauces are made directly from oil & cream in which has no nutritional value or purpose.


3. Ordering your main meal


Easiest way to wholefood order your main meal, sticking to the ‘fish’ dish or the grilled pork loin / steak. As most restaurants are not ‘vegan / wholefood / paleo’, you will most likely find yourself at a restaurant with pastas, pizzas, steaks, chicken breast, fish & sometimes ribs and/or burgers. A lot of these meals are large in portion size, and use highly processed ingredients to make the sauces and sides that accompany the dish.


Pasta’s for example are never of the ‘rye or spelt’ variety so they don’t actually fall under the ‘wholefood’ category and they are usually cream based.


Burgers for example have basically no nutritional value at a restaurant. Cheap mince is usually used, which contains high amounts of fat within the patty and paired with cheese, mayonnaise, butter, brioche rolls & of course… chips, you can sometimes exceed your daily intake in one of these meals.


Now most people would think ‘oh the vegetarian meal!’. This is not usually your best option at most restaurants because of the need to make it taste just as good as the other meals that people are used to eating in todays society. Vegetarian meals are most restaurants are usually a pasta of some kind, sometimes a risotto or a cheesy onion and goats cheese pastry tart. The problem with these meals is that they compensate on the fact that there isn’t any poultry or seafood by using white pasta's & pastries in which won’t keep you full later on. Unless the vegetarian meal is a ‘vegetable stack’ or some kind of Buddha bowl / bean chilli mix, I would avoid it.


By ordering the fish, you usually are still maintaining a lot of its nutritional value, although restaurants will still cook this in oil in the pan … you usually get vegetables and a cauliflower puree if its white fish or sweet potato mash with salmon which gives you an extra vege option!


4. Only order sides if its vegetables


Sides can be ‘dangerous’! Usually chips [which by the way, I LOVE too] or truffle mash on the menu choice which usually doesn’t leave you feeling great afterwards.


The only sides I would recommend would be the steamed broccilini they sometimes have, or green beans with sliced almonds. Be mindful of salads as a side, as they often have dressings which aren’t nutritional, so be careful. For example, a caesar salad has more fat and calories in the dressing than the entire salad itself so just be mindful. 


5. Share a dessert or skip it all together!


Now being a dessert queen, I could never say “NEVER HAVE DESSERT”, we’re human… & your body won’t freak out in the process of having a dessert.


There aren’t necessarily ‘nutritional’ options when choosing a dessert as they’re always made with sugar, cream & … more sugar! But if you share it, at least you’re halving the calorie intake with another person.


This is actually quite funny coming from me who HATES to share her dessert… & if this is the case for you, then you need to make it a rarity in your usual diet. Saving your special dessert treats for every now & again isn’t the end of the world, it’ll actually probably have you finding restaurant sweets way too sweet when you’re only used to wholefood treats or 80% dark chocolate.


6. Finish with a tea


 My final tip for your restaurant eating experience… go home & have a herbal tea to finish off the night. This always leaves me feeling amazing before bed as tea aids in digestion meaning you get to go to bed not feeling as bloated as you may have otherwise.


I hope these tips help next time you’re out & about at a restaurant and you are wanting to stick to your wholefood goals! After all, food gives your body fuel to function, although we have all grown to love common nutrient-lacking flavours, eating for the sake of satisfying emotional cravings is not sustainable for a wholefood home. 


Just be mindful when you're eating at a restaurant, strictly restraining yourself from all treats will just add more stress into your time there, just be aware of your choices. An educated choice is always the way to go - not perfection!


Humble Wholefoods x.