How To Plan For Restaurants During Your Nutritional Reboot Article

How To Plan For Restaurants During Your Nutritional Reboot Article

How to Plan for Restaurants

During Your Nutritional Reboot

  Congratulations! You are awesome! Your Nutritional Reboot is the first step to taking charge of your wellness and getting one step closer to a happier, healthier YOU! Wouldn’t it be amazing if you had your own private chef to follow you everywhere and make all your green list foods for you? We can dream, right? Of course, that would be nice, indeed, but that’s not a reality for most people.

At UCARI, we understand that your life will likely include eating from restaurants and ordering some take-out. When you're busy, that just makes sense. You will probably find yourself wanting to finally get out of the house (to enjoy some outdoor seating!) or take a break and order food instead of cooking. We get it! So how do you do it and still stay on course? To help you, we've put together some helpful guidelines to help you stay on-the-go and healthy at the same time. Let's explore together!

Plan Ahead

  Planning is key! You know how they say never to grocery shop when you're hungry? Well, the most important thing you can do to stay on track in this instance is to identify which restaurants and which menu items you can eat BEFORE you're starving and willing to eat anything. The last thing you need when you are too tired and too hungry to cook is a research project!

Simply use the criteria in this article to identify good, healthy options, look up their menus, and plan for at least three restaurants where you can enjoy safe, "green list," guilt-free options. Pick at least one, preferably two meal options from these restaurants including any way you need to customize your order. If you are not sure if those items can be customized, call ahead and ask. It’s much better to explore your options when you are calm and un-hangry instead of waiting until you feel desperate, dizzy, and ravenous!

Tell Your Tribe

Sharing is caring! The next step is to share your safe places with your family, so they are not left scratching their heads trying to accommodate you. If your family absolutely insists on eating at a restaurant that has no healthful options for you, be ready to eat ahead of time and stick to your guns. Too hard to sit in front of the bread plate and not reach for it? Then consider skipping the trip to the restaurant altogether. Be honest with yourself and plan ahead what you will say to your friends and family, so you don’t feel caught off guard and they don’t feel like it’s a personal rejection. Remember, this is your journey, and you are 100% in control of your wellness. It's your life and your health, no one else's. So, you have to be willing to take charge even if others would prefer you did it their way.

As for your loved ones, food is a way many of us connect. It’s easy to default to going to dinner or lunch as way to be with friends, but that’s not the only way to spend quality time. Make sure your loved one’s know that you are not rejecting them when you are saying no to a specific restaurant. You can do this by offering another way to spend time together that doesn’t necessarily involve food. Perhaps you go for a walk, meet at a park, enjoy the beach, or head to some outdoor shops or a farmer’s market. The point is to stay connected with the people you love without compromising on your commitment to yourself.

You can practice saying: “I’m not going to restaurants right now because I’m changing how I eat. This is really important to me, but so are you. I would love to spend time with you doing something else.”

Eat In-House

  If you do decide to go to restaurants, it’s usually a safer bet to choose restaurants that make their food in-house. Making the food in-house usually means it’s fresher and that you have a greater chance of being able to customize it based on your intolerance needs. Finding restaurants that do this may sound simple, but it’s not always as easy as you might think.

This may come as a surprise, but many large chain restaurants actually have their food made off-site, sometimes in a factory-like setting, then ship that frozen food to the restaurant where it is warmed up and served. Food may be warmed up on the stove or, yes, even in the microwave. This ensures that the restaurant can serve the exact same meal across all of their restaurants in the exact same way. That’s great for consistency, but, unfortunately, they don’t usually tell their patrons about their secret formula. Since you only see it on your plate, you'll never know the difference!

  To make things even more confusing: even small mom-and-pop shops can serve factory-made food. Perhaps they make their famous steak and potatoes from scratch, but they buy their apple pie from a restaurant supply store. This keeps costs down for the restaurant as they don’t have to pay for the labor to cook the majority of the food. Of course, this makes total financial sense for a small business running on even smaller margins, but it may not make health sense for you.

  Factory-made foods clearly cannot be customized at the restaurant. You cannot ask them to remove or replace any ingredient, and the house staff may not even know all of the ingredients in that dish. These ingredients may include preservatives and other chemicals just like any commercially prepared or processed food that you would avoid at the super-market. So, whether or not you believe that these additives impact your health, the pre-made nature of the food certainly impacts your ability to tailor your meal.

You can simply ask your server which meals are made in-house, and which ones are not. Also remember that just because something is made in-house doesn’t mean it’s made at the moment you order it. Restaurants need to maintain efficiency and often prepare ingredients and dishes like sauces, soups, pastas, pies, and other items early in the morning, so it’s merely a simple matter of warming up or finishing the cooking process when it is ordered at dinner time. These foods are still fresh, but, obviously, may not be able to be customized for your intolerance needs.

Keep it Simple

  There's beauty in simplicity! Order foods that are made with fewer ingredients that you can clearly make out. For example: salads are a great option because you can clearly see and customize the ingredients. Salad dressings, on the other hand, are usually filled with uncertainty. This is one of those ingredients that is likely to be made off-site or to have some unexpected ingredients, like sugar, lurking in its recipe. It’s better to opt for oil and vinegar from the kitchen instead if possible.

  Keep the spices simple, too. Especially during your Green Days and Re-Introduction, skip complicated spice profiles like curries and spiced meats. It will be exceedingly difficult for you to identify which spice caused you ill effects if you end up with negative symptoms. So, opt for simply seasoned foods while you go through your Nutritional Reboot, and your body will thank you!

Be Your Own Advocate

  No one is going to stick up for you like you, right?  You are the only one who truly knows what your health and wellness means to you. You know how your diet impacts your life and why you have chosen this path. So, take this moment to give yourself permission to speak up for yourself and ask for what you need. You’ll be surprised how the people who love you will show up to support you.

  Things you can share:

  • Why you have decided to do the Nutritional Reboot
  • What you expect to get out of it
  • Why having your loved ones' support is important to you
  • What obstacles you're facing while staying on track
  • What kind of support from your friends and family would make the most difference

  Things you can ask for:

  • To have group outings at safe restaurants
  • To customize your food order to fit your needs
  • To spend quality time with friends outside of restaurants
  • To eat the food that is right for you during family meals
  • To be respected in your choices

Stay in Charge

Remember, this is your journey. You own it! You're in the driver’s seat, and your UCARI family is here to support you every step of the way. Whether or not you eat at restaurants during your Nutritional Reboot, integrating these new choices into your life is what it takes to create your "New Normal." So be confident in yourself and your choices and make it your own! Be the happiest, healthiest you today and everyday…starting with your Nutritional Reboot!

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