How to Eat Out, the Healthy Way
Because sometimes (read: a lot of the time) we're just too lazy to cook.
We've admitted before that we're not exactly pros in the kitchen and, if we're being honest, between meeting friends and colleagues and just, like, being hungry by the time 8 PM rolls around, on any given night, we're likely to be found out at a restaurant. And though we love a good gourmet burger or a bowl of bolognese, we've found out (the hard way) that a steady diet of the aforementioned menu choices aren't the kindest to our, uh, waistline. So, in the interest of maintaining our resto-routine in a healthier way, we got in touch with Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise, the genius minds behind the organic, uber health conscious meal delivery company Sakara Life to break down exactly what they'd order, where and why. We figure if their client list includes a veritable who's who of Victora's Secret models (Lily Aldridge, Karolina Kurkova and Erin Heatherton among them), Tingle and DuBoise might know a thing or two about how to eat well without sacrificing the, you know, yummy bits.
"When we go out to eat, sometimes we're the first to order french fries and a cocktail," admit the business partners. "We're not advocates of strict diets. We believe that you are what you do most of the time, so most of the time we eat Sakara—fresh, vibrant greens, whole foods, hydrating vegetables, lots of healthy fats and nutrient-dense super foods. Eating this way most of the time helps us to create the body that we want and a body we can listen to. We never like to restrict ourselves from experiencing all of the amazing foods and flavors the world has to offer. For us, it's about creating and maintaining a good relationship to both your body and your food—no guilt. Your food should make you feel sexy; if it doesn't, don't eat it!" With that, find your, uh, "sexy" guide to eating out at restaurants of all kinds. Oh, and bonus, Tingle and DuBoise also divulged the appropriate libations to go along with your healthy meal—because a girl can't survive on food alone, right?
"We look for freshness, and what is least processed on the menu (which sometimes can be a big 'ol grass fed, organic steak!). We ALWAYS order a fresh green. Whether it's for the table to share or just for us. One of the key philosophies of the Sakara lifestyle is to eat at least three cups of greens with both lunch and dinner.
Is it organic? When eating meat, is it grass fed and organic? For fish, wild caught is a must. Most restaurants are more than willing to share that info, especially if they've done due diligence.
If there's some decadent dish that we REALLY want to try (like bacon mac n' cheese), but not for our main course, we ask the table to share it with us. A bite or two is usually perfect!"
"We try not to fill up on chips and guac, but we're not shy about [ordering] it either. It's gotten a bad wrap because of the calorie content, but avocado is filled with healthy fats like omega fatty acids that help keep your skin and brain nourished! Sometimes we ask for veggies to dip in the guac rather than chips, especially if they're fried.
We try to always stay away from fried foods like chimichangas or fried fish tacos. Instead, we opt for fish tacos "a la plancha," which are grilled. We're not afraid to ask where the fish is coming from—the closer to home the better, unless you're from Arizona, like us. Then veggie fajitas are the way to go!"
- Chips and guacamole
- Side of beans (ask for not refried!)
- Mixed taco combo: two grilled fish, two mushroom
- Grilled shrimp
- Two fresh lime margaritas (only if it's not premixed—otherwise we order tequila on the rocks with a bunch of limes)
"If we're dying for some pasta, quality is key. We pick a spot that makes homemade pasta, so that we're not eating overly processed, white flour pasta. Then we opt for a pasta with lots of fresh veggies in it (primavera). We ask for it if it's not on the menu—most places are happy to do it! We pass on the garlic bread and try not to do cream sauces like alfredo or vodka sauce. Italian restaurants also typically have great sides like broccoli rabe, so we always order at least one."
- House salad with olive oil and vinegar
- Side of broccoli rabe
- Beef carpaccio
- Pasta if we're feeling it—maybe share it with the table?
- Olive oil cake with fresh fruit
- 2 glasses of chianti
"Our main mantra at Japanese restaurants is, don't overdo it on the sushi! Just because it's low in fat and high in protein, it doesn't mean it's a free for all. More protein is not always a good thing; too much can be hard on the body, so balance it out with beautiful soups, salads and interesting fresh vegetables. When selecting the sushi that we do eat, we always opt for fattier fish like salmon or toro (fat is GOOD!)"
- Two miso soup
- Two house salads with carrot-ginger dressing
- Two salmon sashimi and veggie rolls
- Steamed black cod
- One bottle of dry sake
"Asian restaurants typically have a great selection of veggie dishes, but we're always wary of hidden ingredients in sauces. Stir-fry sauces often can be hiding lots of sugar and salt. We like to order the sauce on the side and then dip in as we please, rather than have our food swim in something unidentified."
- Thai summer roll (without tofu)
- House salad with peanut dressing
- Pad Thai with extra vegetables (table share?)
- Thai coconut soup with lemongrass cod
- One lychee martini on the rocks
- One cucumber martini on the rocks
"We love to order oysters at bistros because they are ultra fresh (and also an aphrodisiac!). As always, a fresh green or veggie dish is key for us, because after that, we might end up ordering the steak or lamb chops!"
Our order from Bobby Flay's GATO in Noho:
- Gato salad (cheese on the side)
- Charred carrots (to die for!!!)
- Roasted cauliflower
- Roasted octopus with bacon
- Lamb tenderloin
- 2 glasses of red wine that the waiter suggested—d'lish!
It's easy to become a "junk food vegan" (hey, potato chips are vegan!)—we've been there. We stay away from fake meat replacements like tofu and seitan (which is made out of wheat gluten), but love the nutritional benefits of tempeh, which is fermented! At a vegan restaurant, we stick to dishes that are purely vegetables, and aren't afraid to try something different (like roasted olives?!)!
Our Order from Caravan of Dreams in the East Village:
- The Angel's Salad (greens, tomatoes, apple, mango, avocado, sea vegetables, Indonesian dressing)
- The Santa Maria stir-fry (sautéed vegetables—ask for no seitan—brown rice, Arabian hummus, pesto)
- Raw key lime pie
- 2 glasses of Kombucha
Photography courtesy of Caitlin Mitchell