4Leaf eating, Part 5 — Dining outside the home

Challenging for some – great fun for the well-prepared

When dining outside the home; look for restaurants that are likely to have fresh produce in the kitchen.

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.

If you want to order a 4-Leaf meal in a restaurant, they need to the kind of place that has lots of fresh produce in the kitchen.

“Hicks Six” Creative Ordering

  1. First, look for some healthy side dishes on the menu.
  2. Then, scan the menu looking for clues to what other kinds of healthy veggies they have in the kitchen.
  3. 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.).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.*
  6. 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.

Most people think that this would be a fairly healthy meal but with the cheese on top, the oil, the white flour pasta and precious few vegetables -- this would be a 1-Leaf meal at best.

* 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.

Social Situations

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.

Yes, you can eat 4-Leaf at most cocktail parties - not counting the beverages.

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.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—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.

PPS: Occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard. 

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
This entry was posted in 4Leaf for Life, Healthy Eating 101, Social Challenges. Bookmark the permalink.

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