Healthy Eating Out At Chop’t, Roti, and Taylor
This May, many of 202strong’s members have committed to the Eatwell Spring Challenge – a healthy eating and weight loss challenge focused on the promotion of positive lifestyle habits such as eating an unprocessed, real foods diet, drinking plenty of water throughout the day, participating in regular exercise, and getting a good night’s sleep.
The members participating in this challenge are doing phenomenally with all their home-cooked meals – they are experimenting with different real food recipes and using fresh ingredients and high-quality fats and proteins.
But one of the biggest struggles people have been running into is eating out and knowing exactly how to navigate the menu for the most “challenge-friendly” items.
The reality is, many of us are used to eating out pretty frequently. And when it comes to catered office lunches, no one wants to be that guy, always eating out of their own tupperware containers when everyone else is enjoying a catered meal.
So this week and I went through the menus of three popular restaurants in the Bethesda/DC area and picked out their most “challenge-friendly” options. Below are my suggestions for how to navigate the menus of these three popular spots: Chop’t, Roti, and Taylor.
- Ideally you make your own salad – stick to any combination of greens, vegetables/fruits, featured toppings, and goods/proteins (avoid anything fried!). A balanced salad will have unlimited vegetables, 1-2 servings of healthy fat (such as avocado, goat cheese, olive oil/dressing, and nuts/seeds), and a good amount of protein (animal protein for meat-eaters, beans/legumes for vegetarian).
- For dressings the best options are: Balsamic Vinaigrette, Balsamic Vinegar, Dijon Vinaigrette, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lemon or Lime Juice, Lemon Tahini, Red Wine Vinaigrette, Red Wine Vinegar, and White Balsamic Vinaigrette.
- Always order your dressing on the side so you have control over how exactly how much is going on! Add unlimited lemon, lime juice, or vinegar. Keep olive oil, and vinaigrettes to roughly 1-2 tablespoons.
- If salads were already pre-ordered, most of the salads are healthy and balanced. The biggest things to avoid are going to be the added crunchy things like croutons, tortilla chips, homemade fried onions, and panko fried chicken. Ask for any “crunch” on the side or casually pick them off or push them to the side of your plate.
- Cheese is okay depending on whether or not you can tolerate dairy. Ask for no cheese, cheese on side, or eat your way around it. Healthiest cheese option is going to be goat cheese.
- Best option = Roti Salad
- Second best option = Rice Plate
- All proteins aside from the Falafel are good to go!
- Best sides = Tomato & Cucumber, Red Cabbage Slaw, Fresh Vegetables, Spanish Eggplant, Sumac Onions, and Olives.
- Best sauces = Tahini, Garlic, Roasted Red Pepper, and their Vinaigrette
- Use lemon wedges and/or hot sauce to boost the flavor of your order!
- Saved the toughest one for last one!
- Best case scenario (at a catered lunch) you can order for yourself and you order a salad – add grilled chicken, nix any croutons or crunchy toppings, and ask for the dressing on the side.
- Good dressings = any of the three Vinaigrettes, or as always, Oil & Vinegar and/or a Lemon Wedge! Use sea salt & pepper for more flavor.
- Broccoli Salad is a good side!
- Worst case scenario (at a catered lunch) they pre-order subs and you simply eat the contents of the inside of the sub with a fork 😉 Any of the Vegetarian subs and the “Ridge” sub would be good options for that scenario!