How To Eat Healthy At Restaurants W/Friends! (Healthier Wife Day #4&5)

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It’s day #4 (and #5) of the 10-day Healthier Wife Challenge and Mama is feeling good (you’ll find days 1-3 listed at the end of this if you missed them).  Here’s today’s reality for me ….. How in the world am I going to eat healthy at a restaurant with girlfriends tonight while on this challenge?  We can’t stop living and sharing fun times with our people, so let’s talk about how to enjoy ourselves when we eat out, shall we?!

eat healthy

Yep, I’m excited because one of my best girlfriends is coming to town to stay with me and we’re going out to eat with three other fun friends.  On normal diets, we panic at the thought of eating out – to suffer or splurge.  Not this time, sistah!  I think I’ll be able to make wise choices but love the food I’m eating at the same time.  Here’s how …..

Eat Healthy When Eating Out

We can eat healthy at restaurants when we simply remember … basics first.  Here’s what I mean:  for dinner, whether at a restaurant or not, I should eat protein and vegetables first, followed by a small portion of complex carbs.  After all of that, dessert won’t be as tempting.  Right?  Right?!

Choose your meat wisely

Depending on which restaurant we end up at tonight, I will probably choose grilled steak if it’s an option.  My philosophy is that a good steak doesn’t need steak sauce, so that won’t be a temptation.  I’ll eat it as it comes and it enjoy the flavors that it has.

If it’s a Mexican joint, choosing a grilled meat is easy.  If a nice restaurant, there are many grilled meat options.  If it’s a home-style restaurant, make sure there aren’t any gravies or sauces covering up the meat.

Choose your vegetables wisely

If there is a steamed veggie option or a salad bar, I’ll choose that.  Steamed vegetables are awesome for cleansing the body and giving you the most nutrition.

Salad is always a good start – just watch the toppings

You know this – salad is so good for you.  But we can pretty much ruin in and jack up the unnecessary calories with our toppings like fattening dressings, cheeses, croutons, etc.  Don’t stress, though.  Simply choose the lightest dressing option you have available and get it to the side.  If you are dipping each bite, you’ll probably get less than if you slather it on your entire plate.

Skip the bread!

I know, I know.  Pouty faces.  Can I be honest, though?  If we are eating a restaurant-sized meat, vegetables/salad, AND a complex carb like a potato or rice, we’ll be too stuffed for bread anywayz!  That’s why we’ve been miserable in the past after eating out.  We eat and eat and eat until we’re stuffed because it’s available.  Not only do we add unneeded calories, we feel horrible.

Skip dessert!

Not forever-just for now.  If you are trying to go through any type of challenge or cleanse like this one, “just a bite or two” is just as damaging right now as eating the whole thing.  If we can go ten days without sugar and unhealthy carbs, our body decides internally that it doesn’t have to rely on it anymore and your cravings will lessen – especially if you are filling it with superior nutrition!

Drink that water or unsweetened beverages

If you pace yourself and drink water throughout your whole meal, not only is it great for you (and cheap!), it will help you to fill up faster and you won’t be as tempted with bread and dessert.

These days, restaurants have really stepped it up and have started giving healthier options.  It’s no longer a “weird” thing to want a lighter meal – it’s mainstream now.  Woot!  Just look for them and you’ll find lighter, smaller, and healthier options to eat healthy almost everywhere.

For example, at Chick-fil-A you can choose a grilled chicken sandwich on a whole wheat bun with lettuce.  It’s delicious.  At Mexican restaurants like Moe’s you have the option of healthier tortillas and fresh fillings.  Nicer places offer small versions of normal entrees.  Easy Peasy!

I’m headed out the door to eat with friends.  I’ll be back soon to recap below yesterday’s food choices and today’s (including how I do with my plan to eat healthy while out with friends.  We’ll see …..

Eat Healthy Choices

Here’s a breakdown of my eating and supplement choices.

Before Breakfast

Both days, I took my probiotics and drank my Spark Vitamin B drink like normal.


Like the other days, I had a fiber drink and yummy protein shake.

Mid-Morning Snack

Both days I ate unsalted cashews (yum!) and grapes.


Taco Soup leftovers!

Mid-Afternoon Snack

Had a couple of teaspoons of sunflower butter.  Don’t turn your nose up to the sound of that til you try.  My friend that was visiting did just that but then she tasted it.  She liked it, she liked it!



I had leftovers for one night but here’s what I was able to eat healthy while out with four girlfriends:  We ended up at a Mom and Pop steakhouse with a full salad bar.  I got a healthy salad and a couple pieces of fruit.  I ordered a steak and baked

We ended up at a Mom and Pop steakhouse with a full salad bar.  I got a healthy salad and a couple pieces of fruit.  I ordered a steak and a baked sweet potato.  It was all incredibly good.  The steak was tender and flavored well and the sweet potato was so perfect that I didn’t even need any butter or seasonings.  After drinking my water and eating salad, steak, and potato,  I was stuffed.  There was a homemade loaf of bread on the table the whole time and everyone else went for dessert.  I was truly so stuffed with my own food that I wasn’t tempted by either.

I never mentioned that I was eating healthy or made a big deal to call attention to myself that I wasn’t eating dessert.  I don’t think they even noticed because I was enjoying the food I did have so much and we were all too busy talking and laughing to stress about what to eat or not to eat.  It was awesome.

See, it is possible to eat healthy even while out with friends!  I hope this helps you to realize that good choices can be made while out to eat so that you can focus on having fun with your people.

eat healthy

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More you may enjoy:

Healthier WifeLife:  announcement

How to Be Healthier: Prep & Purpose

Healthier Wife Day 1

Healthier Wife Day 2

Healthier Wife Day 3


Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, and more, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist with a passion for helping women lose the overwhelm of planning family-friendly trips in the south. She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about Georgia, Florida, & the Carolinas vacations.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️



  1. Maria
    September 26, 2016 / 7:39 am

    These are so helpful and practical tips. Sometimes you read posts where the tips are so unrealistic, so I really appreciate this post! You should offer this as a free download to your email list…its just that beneficial and helpful!

    • Shan
      September 26, 2016 / 7:10 pm

      Wow, Maria. Thanks so much. I just may do that download idea. I’ve actually been trying to brainstorm a printable that would be helpful when grocery shopping and eating out. You’ve got my wheels spinning even more!


  2. Julie Mason
    September 26, 2016 / 7:58 am

    I have the hardest time with this. I go in with a plan and then everything just looks so delicious. I at least divide in half and have half boxed up before it comes to the table. That way I at least know I have split the meal.

    • Shan
      September 26, 2016 / 7:11 pm

      That’s a GREAT tip, Julie that I didn’t even mention. Dividing your food is awesome. Way to go!


  3. Catrina
    September 26, 2016 / 8:01 am

    Great tips! This has always been something I’ve struggled with. And it’s so hard to say no to the bread!!

  4. Taylor Reese
    September 26, 2016 / 9:02 am

    I find myself always sacrificing my healthy choices when out with friends. This is a great post and tips!

  5. Tiffany @ Arrows + Awe
    September 26, 2016 / 9:49 am

    I always try my best to eat healthy at restaurants. Sometimes i just can’t avoid the bread!

  6. Tiffany @ Arrows & Awe
    September 26, 2016 / 9:50 am

    I always try to eat healthy at restaurants. Sometimes I just can’t avoid the bread!

  7. Mihaela Echols
    September 26, 2016 / 12:28 pm

    Great tips! It’s always tricky when you want to eat healthy and yet go out with friends every once in a while. But it is still possible. Water water water. Drink the whole glass as you are looking over your menu it will curve your diet.

  8. Britney Crosso
    September 26, 2016 / 2:02 pm

    Yes! Skipping dessert and drinking water works great for me!

  9. Lizzy
    September 26, 2016 / 2:24 pm

    I’ve always struggled with what to get at a restaurant when I’m trying to eat healthy. I love that you broke this down. Definitely go with water/ unsweetened drinks and getting salad dressing on the side!

  10. Lane & Holly @ With Two Spoons
    September 26, 2016 / 2:43 pm

    Great work and great tips! I find eating healthy SO difficult when I go out.

  11. Brittany
    September 26, 2016 / 3:53 pm

    What great tips! I’m always drinking water, and going out is no exception!

  12. De Bolton
    September 26, 2016 / 4:25 pm

    When in doubt I stick to the two P’s-protein and produce. Some great tips!

  13. Kristi
    September 26, 2016 / 7:38 pm

    Good tips! Eating out and still making healthier choices is possible.

  14. Lauren White
    September 26, 2016 / 10:18 pm

    These are great tips — I especially love the salad one! Not all salads are healthy!

  15. Carrie Anderson
    September 27, 2016 / 1:31 am

    Great tips here! Sunbutter is actually very tasty, too. I used to use it to make my son’s homemade uncrustables

  16. Amanda @ Anchored to Sunshine
    September 27, 2016 / 7:17 am

    Skipping the bread is the hardest part for me! I literally have to ask for them not to bring bread in order for me not to eat it haha

  17. Angela
    September 27, 2016 / 8:31 am

    I have a major bread and dessert problem! I just can’t stop! My mom says I am addicted. Yikes!

  18. Jenni Laplow
    September 27, 2016 / 8:36 am

    Love the tips! Skipping bread and dessert are big ones for me when eating out. Hope you had fun with your friends!

  19. Sheila
    September 27, 2016 / 9:26 am

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  20. Sabrina
    September 27, 2016 / 9:31 am

    All of these tips are so helpful, I just wish I had the will power to follow through. I can never resist the bread even though I know I have to. I love how you really explained what to look out for and why. How can you stay so strong?

  21. Scott LaPierre
    September 27, 2016 / 11:56 am

    Oh wow Shan, I had to laugh when I saw, “Choose your vegetables wisely.” That’s setting a pretty high bar considering most of us feel like ANY vegetables IS super healthy :).

  22. Erin
    September 27, 2016 / 4:01 pm

    These are very practical and easy to implement. I always skip the bread and sugary drinks at restaurants when I’m trying to stay healthy.
    xoxo, erin |

  23. Emily
    September 28, 2016 / 9:36 pm

    It’s always hardest for me to eat healthy when I’m eating out. I try to intentionally pick restaurants that I know I love healthier options if I’m able to. Cutting out the extra carbs and cheeses is the challenge for me, but thinking through meat selection is a great place to start!

  24. Debbie Wilson
    September 29, 2016 / 8:52 am

    Great tips. I find a cup of hot herb tea is satisfying if others are having dessert and I don’t want to.

  25. Lori
    September 30, 2016 / 8:00 pm

    I don’t eat out very often so I’ll have to remember this tips, Shan. Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

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