Following any type of dietary constraint when eating at a restaurant can be tough, but the Whole30 program carries particularly stringent restrictions. Does that mean you have to forgo heading to your favorite eatery? Absolutely not! You simply have to keep some special tips in mind to stay on Whole30 while eating out.
Remember that the Whole30 program is all or nothing. This means you must agree to stick to the plan at all times — even when faced with a menu filled with dairy, grains and other forbidden items. Still, if you have the desire to try Whole30, you definitely have what it takes to navigate the waters of a day or night feasting on the town.
Remember What You Cannot Have
You might want to bookmark the Whole30 page of items you aren’t allowed to eat. That way, you can refer back to it. Don’t forget that corn is considered a grain, not a vegetable. Therefore, it’s not an acceptable dish or ingredient.
Start by Ordering Water
Okay, so the first thing to do is order water. You can also go for black coffee or pure tea, but stay away from the sweeteners on the table. Not even aspartame, sucralose or stevia is appropriate for a Whole30 meal. By starting with water, you’re already on your way to healthier decisions.
Carefully Look at the Menu
Here’s the part that can get a little tricky. You may see a salad that sounds good, but includes quinoa, which is a grain, or cheddar cheese bits, which is dairy. Break down each item to its smallest group. And don’t assume meats and seafood aren’t cooked in butter or marinated in a sugar-laden or MSG-filled sauce.
Talk to Your Server in Confidence
While you don’t have to name Whole30, you should feel free to talk to your server about your restrictions. The more upscale and sophisticated the restaurant, the more likely it is they’ll be able to accommodate your needs. This may mean forgoing fast food for the month you’re doing your Whole30 cleanse.
When speaking with your server, show them your restricted foods if you want. They may be able to steer you toward a particular menu item you overlooked. Be sure to ask about preparation methods so you don’t accidentally slip up and eat something you shouldn’t.
Ask for Seafood to Be Poached or Baked
Poaching and baking with olive oil are both allowed on Whole30, so take advantage of that fact and order the seafood. Seafood responds well to poaching and baking. Additionally, it has a strong enough flavor by itself to satisfy your desire for palate-pleasing foods.
Not in a seafood mood? You can do the same with fresh cuts of meat, but be cautious: if the restaurant got their meat from a third-party supplier, it may have been preserved with items you can’t eat.
Skip the Dessert Tray
Right off the bat, you should request not to see the dessert tray. It’s just too tempting. Opt for fresh fruit instead. Most restaurants have some kind of fresh, natural fruit in the kitchen, and they’ll be happy to whip up a creation especially for you. Try to go during a non-rush time and you’ll get even better service and more personalized attention from wait staff and cooks.
Tip Well and Return Often
Servers will remember you if you make your favorite restaurant your Whole30 dine-in paradise, and they’ll appreciate it if you leave a little extra in your tip.
We can only seat complete parties for reserved tables. Please be sure your entire party has arrived before checking in with our hostess.
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