How to Eat Healthy Food While Dining Out

how to eat healthy food while dining out, friends at cafe

Written by Sheridan

September 20, 2016

Isn’t it sad that we even need to question this?

Most people when they start to prepare and eat ‘cleaner, healthier real food’ often ask ‘What do I choose to eat when I go out for lunch or dinner?’

When you focus on the food you can’t eat at a particular café or restaurant, you might feel that you’re ‘missing out’. It all comes down to balance and initially building the right foundation for your body.

So listen to your own body and work out what’s best for it, as everyone is different. Your body might be able to tolerate the occasional vodka, whiskey and coffee as you’ve built up a good nutritional foundation first.

You might still avoid inflammatory foods and choose to eat activated nuts, seeds, fermented foods, an abundance of greens, as well as your ‘occasional treats’.

Remember nutrition is only one part of the equation as we are holistic social beings, so ensure that you maintain a daily dose of laughter, touch, sun and movement as well. Walking in nature, meditation and having regular Epsom salt baths are also all good things for your soul.

If you begin to isolate yourself from others and feeling that you’re unable to ‘eat out’ with them, you might end up putting more mental and physical stress on your body.

How do I keep my habits intact when doing FUN things or when I am on the road?  

1. Self-love and respect

You will not follow through with your real food eating habits without self-love and respect. A little harsh, I know. You need to gain the strength to accept that you deserve to be the best version of you and that the only thing in the way of this are your choices. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but not implement anything at all. Make this your absolute priority and everything else will fall into place.

Start by honouring your body every single day by doing something you love, pampering yourself in some way or connecting with your body through yoga or meditation. You need to put yourself first, or you will fail to be the best service to your son, daughter, husband, friend or colleague.

2. Invite everyone to your house and get them to chip in!

Casual celebration

When you’re the cook, you have nothing to worry about as you know the ingredients you are cooking with. The added bonus here is that you still get to have some fun with your loved ones as well as cooking nutritious food for them too.

Ask them to ‘chip in’ financially – that way you can split the costs of the dinner.



3. Research cafes and restaurants that have the foods you choose to eat

When you have the option, do what you can to ensure you dine at a restaurant that will cater for your needs. I have a few favourite cafes on the Sunshine Coast and I find it difficult to sway from these because I know they are making food close to what I would make at home.

If you’re travelling, it is absolutely essential to find places that will cater for you, otherwise organise for an apartment with basic cooking appliances, so you can prepare your favourite meals.

4. Say no to restaurants and cafes that don’t support your eating habits

Easier said than done, I know. However, remember your health is your biggest asset so ask yourself ‘Are the few minutes of enjoyment eating a particular type of food really worth feeling the ‘food hangover’ the next day, or even for the next few weeks?

If you are at a café or restaurant that doesn’t have a suitable food on the menu and the staff are unable to cater for your needs, then remain strong willed and don’t get anything. Opt instead for a lime and soda or a tea and you will leave the restaurant feeling much more refreshed. Or, wait until you get home to eat something. It is worth it, trust me.

5. Create non-negotiables

My ‘non-negotiables’ are being gluten and dairy free. This means, no matter where I eat out, it must be gluten and dairy free – and if something else slips in that I would usually avoid then so be it. If they cannot cater for gluten and dairy free, I generally will go hungry and wait until I get home or find somewhere else to eat.

6. Take the good stuff with you

If I am leaving home for a few days, I will take some basic essentials. This includes probiotics, filtered water and salt. Some examples of prepared foods I may take with me are: pesto, boiled eggs, leftover frozen meals, paleo fritters or savoury muffins, some nuts, seed crackers, paleo additive free sausages, jelly, sustainable tuna and berries.

7. Be strong

If everyone around you eats foods you can’t, do not feel embarrassed, guilty or ashamed. Be CONFIDENT in your decisions and stay true to yourself. You know what is best for you and your body. By being strong, you are only going to inspire and educate those around you to understand their own nutritional needs and eat accordingly.

You are likely to find that those around you have their own problems and health challenges, although they might not be doing anything about it yet. So remain strong and lead by example, believe me your body will thank you for it.

Stay true to yourself and your beliefs, because those that do are always the most inspirational.

Happy changing habits.

Sheridan Williamson
Changing Habits Nutritionist

September 2016


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  1. Carolyn

    Hi Sheridan, would you please be kind enough to share the eateries on the Sunshine Coast that support gluten and dairy free eating? I know of Kunara cafe, Elixibar, Lemon and Thyme and The Paleo Place. Thank you.

  2. Helen

    I love this! Thankyou Sheridan. I am currently on this healthy eating journey, because it is a journey. You can’t do it all at once. Its a progressive change. I do find it a little uncomfortable when family offers foods not wanted, but they don’t push even though they think I’m nuts. That’s ok. I know I’m not nuts. I’m in the process of trying to make hubby more in tune. He concedes on some things but is very hard to convince on the “wheat” aspect. I tried to get him to watch Cyndi’s “What’s with Wheat” and he fell ?. Will take time and patience.


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