Challenging for some – great fun for the well-prepared
Since most Americans consume more than half of their calories outside the home, it’s very important that you learn how to practice your 4Leaf eating experience in restaurants, in friend’s homes and while traveling.
Let’s begin with the restaurants. The most important thing is to frequent eateries that actually have fresh grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes in their kitchen at any given time. As we know, many restaurants primarily rely on frozen goods, meat and dairy for the vast majority of their calories served. Not even Houdini could order a 4-Leaf meal in one of those places. Here are my six simple steps to ordering great meals in almost any restaurant except for Fast Food.
“Hicks Six” Creative Ordering
- First, look for some healthy side dishes on the menu.
- Then, scan the menu looking for clues to what other kinds of healthy veggies they have in the kitchen.
- Look at entrees carefully and make a mental note of the healthy items they are serving with them..also ask your server for ideas, maybe saying that your doctor has you on a special diet (Dr. Campbell, Dr. Esseslstyn, Dr. Fuhrman, Dr. McDougall, etc.).
- Once you find out what they have, you can talk to your server about portion size and meal preparation details — like cooking with no oil or butter and no added salt.
- When ordering pasta, make sure that at least 2/3 of the dish is veggies, not pasta…and always ask for whole grain bread, pasta or rice.*
- As for the “token” vegetarian entree; forget it. It is typically loaded with oil, white flour and cheese; derives very few calories from whole plants and is rarely even close to being a health-promoting 4Leaf meal.
After a little practice, this creative ordering can be a lot of fun. Not only will you be enjoying healthy and delicious meals that you create yourself, you’ll be saving roughly $10 every time you dine. As a single man, I save enough going out every night to pay for ALL of the groceries that I purchase at the supermarket.
* If you order a pasta primavera off almost any menu, it will typically be a huge bowl of white pasta, a few tiny vegetables here and there and covered with some combination of oil and/or cream sauce. Bottom line — less than 10% of your calories will be from whole plants — scoring in the “No Leaf” level on our “4Leaf” scale. In your own 4Leaf pasta dish, you will want to make sure that most of the calories come from the veggies.
So what about parties and eating at friends’ homes? This can be more difficult but not impossible. If it’s a cocktail party like the one shown here, simply dig into the carrots, broccoli, celery and hummus and avoid the cheese, shrimp and deviled eggs. And, to play it safe, have a snack before you go and just enjoy your cocktail sans the solid food.
If it’s a sit-down dinner, you can tell your hostess in advance that your doctor has you on a restricted diet and you’ll just be enjoying her salad, vegetables and bread this evening. Depending on how well you know the hostess, the less said the better.
Healthy Eating on the Road
Finally, for traveling, I like to carry easy-to-eat items like bananas, apples, oranges, and nuts for the plane or train. Then, at the airports, I always look for the Mexican or Asian places, where you can usually get at least a 3-Leaf meal, perhaps with a little more oil and salt that you’d be able to order at a fine restaurant — like the Water Street Cafe in Stonington, CT….pictured above.
That’s about it — it only takes about a month to form a new habit. Once you have an established 4Leaf routine in your life, there is no need to count calories or log every meal in order to consistently eat at the 4Leaf level. Just use the simple guidelines in this 5-part series. Need a refresher, just return to the 4Leaf Program page.
Tips on Eating Out by Dr. John McDougall
If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
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—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com
PS: Remember, this program is all about Celebration, not deprivation. Forget the fake meats, tofu and the like — and get serious about enjoying the health promoting and world-changing power of 4-Leaf meals that derive over 80% of their calories from whole plants — in nature’s package.
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