We all know that it is impossible to prepare 100% of your meals in advance, but just because you aren’t preparing your own food, it doesn’t mean that you need to break your diet. We use food as a way to celebrate and come together, which is not something you should avoid. You can easily eat out at restaurants and even fast food places and maintain your anti-inflammatory lifestyle. In order to adapt to the anti-inflammatory lifestyle, good habits must be established. The key here is making good choices when eating out and being flexible. You can even order your favorite foods if you follow these tips!
When you first think of eating Italian food, you may think of a big plate of pasta covered in a cheese sauce. Think again! There are a lot of healthy Italian classics that you can eat on an anti-inflammatory diet. Take Cioppino, the seafood dish, for example. Cioppino is a big bowl of fish stew that originated in San Francisco, California, similar to the french bouliabasse; Both dishes are traditionally served in a classic tomato sauce and filled with all kinds of seafood like fish, shrimp, clams or mussels. They key to ordering this dish is that you want to be sure to ask if the base has cream in it. Tell the waiter that you’re dairy intolerant, as dairy is very inflammatory. If they make the dish to order, they can easily make it without dairy products. Another Italian dish you can order is lamb. A lot of times, lamb will be served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Instead of getting the mashed potatoes (or whatever carbohydrate is served with the lamb) that can be loaded with butter and cream, ask the waiter to sub extra veggies instead. This will ensure that you’re following the balanced protein guide.
Do your friends want to meet you for sushi? Just because rice is a grain and is not included in the anti-inflammatory diet, it doesn’t mean you can’t eat sushi! As mentioned in our previous blog, the American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week because it is so good for you. Many people like to eat at sushi restaurants, and this can be easy if you order right. The first thing that you need to remember is that soy sauce is very inflammatory, partially because of the high sodium content, so avoid eating that. Instead, ask for extra ginger which is great for your digestive system. Order sushi rolls without the rice and load up on the veggies. For example, if you like spice, ask for a spicy tuna roll with extra cucumber and avocado and no rice. If you don’t like spicy foods, instead order a salmon roll in the same style. You will still get all of the amazing Omega-3 fatty acids without the grains!
Did you forget your lunch or need to grab something on the go? Fast food is known for it’s high calorie, high fat, and high sodium foods. However, you don’t have to rule it out, just be sure to order better! Many fast food restaurants, such as Carl’s Jr., offer grass feed beef burgers. Order this hamburger (remember, no cheese) and ask for extra lettuce in the place of a bun. At In N Out, if you ask for your burger to be served “protein style,” it will be served in a lettuce wrap, and you won’t even notice the difference. If you’re a french fry fan, go to a fast food place that offers sweet potato fries! This option is much healthier than regular fries because according to the BBC, sweet potatoes are very high in fiber, promote eye health, and could “help improve blood sugar regulation in type 2 diabetes.” See? You can have a burger and fries on an anti-inflammatory diet– you just need to order smart!
Most of us know that sugar is not good for you. In fact, according to the New York Times, “sugar is a primary cause of obesity and heart disease, the leading killer of Americans,” but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy dessert from time to time. Instead of high calorie sugary treats loaded with grains and dairy, look for desserts that have natural sweeteners like fruit. If you’re at a restaurant, you can always look for sugar-free sorbet. Thai food restaurants usually carry coconut milk ice cream which is dairy free and a great treat! Another item you might find on the menu, especially around Valentine’s Day, is a dark chocolate covered strawberry. Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and strawberries are excellent sources of Vitamin C. Try these options if you feel a sweet tooth coming on.
We want you to have all of the tools for long-term success, and there’s no reason why you would have to skip eating out. However, in order effectively to reduce the inflammation in your body, you might need to alter the way you order. You can still have a burger or fries or even ice cream, just use the tips above to be able to eat your favorite foods and still live a healthy lifestyle. If you remember to look at your goals in order to stay motivated, you will find sticking with your new changes a lot easier. Pass the sweet potato fries, please!