It can be tough when you go out to dinner in a small town.
I strive for a 90/10 balance of 90% clean and on plan, and 10% leeway for restaurants, or just something I want that’s really not on plan.
For me, personally, that helps me stay on plan more than if I seriously restrict myself.
We have a bunch of chain restaurants, loads of small mom-and-pop type places, about an 80/30 ratio of Mexican food restaurants over every other kind.
One of our favorite places is a chain called Texas Roadhouse. They cook steaks very well, which is a HUGE criteria of mine. My husbands is “how’s the chick-fried-steak”. That’s his ultimate judgement on if we ever go back to a restaurant or not lol.
But, even with the food that looks “clean”, there are questionable ingredients. I mean, you wouldn’t think “8oz ribeye, med-rare, broccoli and a salad with blue cheese dressing (hold the croutons and eggs – because I hate eggs in restaurant salads)would be pretty clean, right?
Except: sugar, flour/starch and msg, in the steak rub, in the broccoli (though Texas Roadhouse barely cooks their veggies, so I don’t think sugar is an issue there), etc.
Mexican food is a low-carb/clean eating adventure, for sure.
My usual: Carne Asada (grilled fajita steak), or fajitas, extra grilled peppers and onions, pico-de-gallo, extra guacamole or avocado slices, sliced tomatoes if they have them.
The minefield here, beside the obvious beans, rice, chips: cheese sauces thickened with flour or starch; msg and sugar. Sometimes the sugar is in the form of pineapple or orange juice used for marinades.
We have a Vietnamese place that opened about a year ago, and though most things are off limits sue to the msg and sauces (not to mention really fantastic noodles!), the Pho with extra sprouts and no noodles is pretty darned good. Msg? Probably, according to my swelling ankles and mild headache after eating it, but not awful.
When I am “on plan” we eat out less. Which helps fatten the wallet and shrink the waistline lol.
If you have any ideas on navigating this minefield, please add them! 🙂