Ordering Better Nutrition When You Eat Out?

Are you ordering better or are your choices keeping you from better results?

By Better Nutrition Provider Rachel Silverman, RD

What you are ordering most often has a big impact on your results if you are ordering food and drinks out often. Look, we get it, life happens and we either need or we want something fast(er) than sitting down at home or a restaurant for at least one of the better nutrition pit stops during your day.

Get the Ordering Better Nutrition Guide

Here are better choices for the most common pit stops…

What are you Ordering at Starbucks?

Here are some better choices:

  • Egg Bites: Egg White & Red Pepper: Kudos to Starbucks for these better breakfast bites. Two egg bites provide 13 grams of protein and <10 grams of fat per serving.
  • Lentils & Vegetable Protein Bowl: One of the only vegan options provided, this bowl has 23 grams of protein and 21 grams of fiber making it a plant-based nutrition win. It also contains healthy fats from the sunflower seeds, which helps your body balance hormones and slow the digestion of food. Use the dressing sparingly as it contains most of the sodium and sugar.
  • If you’re ordering food, then your beverage needs to be factored into your overall nutrient balance. We’re fans of a short size blonde roast with almond or coconut milk.

Panera Bread makes ordering better nutrition delicious!

  • Steel Cut Oatmeal with Almonds, Quinoa & Honey: Panera wins in the breakfast category with this one. Most store-bought oatmeal can sometimes contain more sugar than a slice of cake! This bowl only contains 7 grams of sugar, while providing 8 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber! Pro tip: cut down on even more sugar and ask for the honey on the side. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon for extra anti-inflammatory benefits!
  • Vegan Lentil Quinoa Broth Bowl: We like this bowl because it offers 12 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of fiber, <10 grams of fat and only 280 calories. You can also add chicken to the bowl for extra protein. Proceed with caution if you have high blood pressure… one bowl contains 1180mg of sodium! Ask for less broth to limit the amount of sodium in the bowl.
  • Seasonal Greens Salad: Out of all the salads, this one is by far the best option. This salad contains 4 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and only 150mg of sodium. Add a little extra protein by asking for a plant protein (like almonds) or part plant-based part animal protein. We’d recommend staying away from most of the other salads here due to their high sodium, sugar and fat content.
  • For your liquids, choose unsweetened black coffee/tea. Avoid any added sugar beverages. Or get bubbly with sparkling water.

Chipotle spices up ordering better!

We love that chipotle uses fresh ingredients and accommodates for vegan, vegetarian, soy-free, wheat-free, gluten-free and dairy-free! However, here the more you pile on the worse off you are. Here is our guide to building a better bowl

  • Ask for a lettuce as your base
  • If you eat meat, opt for the chicken or steak – both are relatively low in sodium, high in protein and contain an easily absorbable form of iron.
  • Beans and Rice: Choose one or the other or ask for a smaller portion of both. Opt for brown rice vs white rice as it provides more dietary fiber per serving.
  • Ask for a double portion of fajita veggies!
  • JUST SAY NO to queso, sour cream and cheese. If you can’t live without it, choose one and ask for it on the side that way you are controlling how much you put on. SAY YES to salsa and guacamole (on the side).
  • Skip the chips!
  • Thirsty? Sip on water or unsweetened iced tea!

Here are tips for ordering Sushi better

There are so many options when it comes to sushi, which is why we love it so much! However, depending on what you order it can be a total carb-bomb or heavy on fried/fatty items. Here are a few tips on how to order sushi, better.

  • If you are sticking to rolls opt for brown rice vs. white rice. You can also ask for your sushi to have ‘less rice’ to limit the amount of carbohydrates.
  • Go Naked! Naruto rolls are rolled in cucumber, not rice so you are just getting the fish and veggies! You can also order sashimi which is just simply the fish, or a handroll with little or no rice.
  • Stay away from ‘tempura’ which is fried and will add calories/fat to your meal.
  • Go LOW sodium soy sauce. Just one tablespoon of regular soy sauce contains 900mg of sodium! And always dip sparingly! Use the wasabi to help add flavor, too.
  • Eat the ginger (if that’s your thing) as ginger helps aid in digestion.
  • Say no to salad: The traditional seaweed salad is often a sugar bomb, while the simple house salad is drenched in dressing. Try getting a side of sautéed veggies like spinach or mushrooms, if offered.
  • Sip on hot green tea, or one glass of hot sake, which is a Japanese rice wine.






Happy Ordering!


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