Grocery lists. Meal prep. Fear of legumes. Yep, you’re Whole30-ing. Good for you! Even though you’re a professional at whipping up a delicious diet-friendly meal in your own kitchen, there will come a time when you have to venture into the great unknown: dining out. Before you turn down that after-work invite or weekend brunch, know that it is possible to eat out while doing the damn thing. Behold, your guide to navigating Whole30 at some of our favorite types of restaurants.
How to Stay on Whole30 at a Restaurant (So You Don’t Have to Be a Hermit)
Say no thank you to corn, beans and rice, and embrace the fajitas sans the tortillas. Bonus points if you can load up on healthy fats like avocado (hello, guacamole). Spicy salsas make great salad toppings, and most proteins can be grilled. Just make sure to ask what type of oil ingredients are cooked in. (Olive oil, please!)
As long as you make sure your steak won’t be basted in butter, you’ll find plenty to eat at most steakhouses. Choose vegetable sides, ask (nicely) to hold the sauce and—boom—you’re in the clear. No, you can’t smother your baked potato in sour cream, but you can drizzle on a little olive oil. It’s the little things.
Lucky for you, ghee is a staple in Indian cooking, so butter is a non-issue (it doesn’t hurt to double check with your server, though). Meat and vegetable curries made with coconut milk will fill you up, and seek out grilled or roasted proteins, too. But watch out for hidden lentils or chickpeas.
Bye, pasta. Fill your plate with lean meats and flavorful vegetables instead of the carbohydrates. (Relax, you’ll see them in, like, 30 days.) Take advantage of any seafood you can find, like shrimp or mussels. Ask about olive oil-cooked foods, avoid cream-based sauces, naturally, and opt for tomato and meat sauces instead.
Barring all noodle dishes (we miss you, pad see ew), you’ll find that many Thai options won’t wreck your diet. Spring for curries (like panang or red curry) that are coconut milk-based, and make sure to ask if there’s sugar in the sauce.
We won’t lie—this one’s a toughie. You’ll have a difficult time avoiding things like soy, gluten and rice. Our advice? Stick with a meat-and-veggie entrée…and skip the sauce (it’s just too risky). Even better: Try hot pot, a traditional East Asian cuisine in which raw meat, seafood and veggies are cooked at the table in simmering stock. Aside from being delicious, it’s fun and Whole30-friendly.