There are 3 things we do when we consider what to eat, whether at home, a new restaurant or a favorite local spot:
1. Start with the PROTEIN
If you're at a restaurant, check the menu for the protein you're craving—fish, steak, burger, chicken, lamb, eggs or other protein.
- Ask how it's prepared. Does it have seasoning or sauce? We always order with no seasoning—chefs tend to be heavy-handed with the salt—or light seasoning, and sauce on the side so we can use as much or as little as we like. As a rule of thumb, the milligrams of sodium should not exceed the calories. You won’t know the exact amount in a restaurant, just know that sodium is usually pretty high, but on packaged food you can see exactly what these numbers are.
- Ask how much the protein weighs. Depending on the weight, which is usually more than one of us should be eating at a meal, we usually end up sharing. Women should eat around 4 to 6 ounces of protein and men about 6 to 8 ounces. If you’re with someone that doesn’t want to share, ask the server for a to-go container as soon as you get your food and package up the extra before you start eating.
2. Next consider the SIDES
- Start with the vegetables. Load up on the veggies but like the protein, always ask how they’re prepared. Are they grilled, steamed, fried? Seasoning and sauce? Most places are happy to modify, so if the veggies are fried, consider asking for them steamed and always get the sauce on the side so YOU are in control of how much to use.
- Move on to the starchy carbs. What comes with the meal- Bread, French fries, rice, risotto, or other grain? How is it prepared and is there a way to modify it? On a special occasion, we may order it as is, but on a regular night out we’ll usually ask for ½ portion and increase the veggies, or choose something that can be modified, like a baked potato. And unless it’s a special occasion, we always skip the bread. If the bread is made in-house and looks delicious, we’ll have the bread, skip the starchy carbs and get extra veggies instead.
3. There’s always room for DESSERT!
Ask your server for all the options. We usually don’t order dessert unless it’s a special occasion, but when we do, we start with gluten-free options (a personal choice, not an allergy- we have found that we are less bloated and feel better overall without gluten in our diet) then look for the choice that probably has the least sugar—we always ask. And sharing is always a good idea.
Cooking and eating at home gives us more control about the ingredients in our food. Use the same principles when you’re deciding what to cook at home, go easy on the salt and load up on herbs and spices, light on the sauces, heavy on the veggies, and look for gluten-free and sugar-free recipes to make a delicious dessert at home.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated, it’s as easy as 1-2-3.
Cheers to your health!
Joe and Heather Juliani
About The Authors
Joe and Heather Juliani are real estate professionals and wellness enthusiasts from Southern California. Through their inspiring personal journeys, they share a passion for serving others and living a life of purpose. You can learn more about their real estate practice at https://joejuliani.com/ and more health related wisdom at: https://www.heatherjuliani.com.