I’m revisiting this popular topic, but this time I’m bringing along a friend and fellow Whole30’er! In the past, I’ve received great feedback on previous Whole30 Dining Guides, and this post is a continuation of that. I do my best to highlight local Whole30 friendly spots, while also providing tips for ordering at (almost) any restaurant with confidence! See this post for more on the Whole30…
Blogging has connected me with wonderful people, and this was absolutely the case with Whitney Stuart! We initially met at a fitness event I was hosting at Bandier, and then crossed paths again at Melissa Hartwig’s Food Freedom Forever book signing. We discovered we have a lot in common with our love for family, faith, fitness, and of course, the Whole30!
Whitney is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist who has also completed several Whole30’s on her journey to better health. Her practice, Whitness Nutrition, promotes a sustainable, whole foods approach with her everyday clients. Whitney stays on top of the latest dietary trends, sorting fads from facts and is very knowledgeable when it comes to helping people reach their health and fitness goals through nutrition. Her passion for what she does is inspiring!
Dining out while trying to make healthy choices may seem like a challenge, but it’s absolutely doable with a few ground rules. Don’t allow Whole30, (or any kind of dietary restriction) cramp your social life! Dallas (along with other cities) continues to grow with Whole30 friendly and all around farm-to-table restaurants, so there are plenty of options when you’re seeking out a healthy meal.
I thought it would be fun to co-write this post with Whitney and include some of her best tips for a healthy approach to dining out while on the Whole30 and beyond! To gather our ideas for this post, we met at Mudhen Meat & Greens for a delicious Whole30 compliant brunch. We’re sharing what we ordered along with strategies to keep you happy and healthy, socialite!
*And, we have a deal for you, Dallas friends! Save 20% on your meal at Mudhen Meat and Greens now through July 31st when you mention our code, GMNO to your server!*
Tools and Tips for Dining Out on the Whole30 (and life after Whole30!)
Know before you go…
- Preview the menu, and specifically browse for the easiest dishes to modify.
- If you’ve completed a Whole30 and know your foods with no brakes, identify those on the menu…Being prepared and aware is a key to success during your Whole30 and afterwards, too! For example, when I eat Mexican or Tex Mex, I always ask for sliced cucumber or zucchini to dip in my salsa and guac. Otherwise, that basket of chips will be demolished in minutes and I’ll have no desire to consume my delicious meal.
If in doubt, dial out!
- If you’re wary of a menu choice, it’s always easier to call and ask questions before you go! It can be difficult and time consuming to ask a series of questions once you’re there and the restaurant/server is busy.
- Each time I’ve called a restaurant, I’ve received more comprehensive info than I would have on site! It’s also less of a distraction if you can order quickly and easily…who wants to be “that girl?” 😉
Navigate the menu…
- Sip on water with lemon, or try kombucha when available. Note: Whole30 compliant kombucha is hard to find when eating out. If in doubt, skip it!
- Cold brew coffee is plentiful this summer, and we love a good cup of joe! If you don’t like to drink your cold brew black, stash a bottle of nutpods dairy-free, Whole30 approved creamer in your tote for brunch success. (Follow me on instagram to enter my nutpods variety pack giveaway!)
- In the mood for a hot beverage? Bone broth is a great option as are coffee and tea.
- Unsweetened iced tea with a squeeze of lemon or orange is a summer favorite…
- If your party is imbibing, get a club soda with lime. The fizzy flavor and garnish will give you confidence in your sobriety!
- Some restaurants (such as HG Sply) offer cold pressed juice mocktails that are a refreshing alternative in the summer. Be sure it’s 100% pure fruit/vegetable juice without added sugars (agave, honey, maple syrup, etc).
- Most appetizers are going to be heavily sauced, breaded, or lacking in the most important components! You can usually skip over this section, unless you can find a healthy option.
- Identify protein-based entrees first! Then, add green/vegetable sides to easily modify your dish as needed! Baked, broiled, grilled, and roasted are preparations that are usually Whole30 friendly. Beware of anything described as fried, breaded, or coated. Tip: Most restaurants don’t provide a sizable vegetable portion; Don’t be afraid to double the order or get two!
- Although a salad works well, another option is to order seasonal vegetables for variety. A healthful diet is vibrant and full of color. Mudhen offers a chalkboard list of fresh vegetables, updated daily, served steamed or sauteed.
- If you go for a salad, look for one that is entrée size, and plentiful in veggies. Omit any cheese, grains, croutons, etc. Ask for olive oil and vinegar/lemon, use salsa as your dressing, or BYOD “ bring your own dressing”! I’m known to carry a bottle of Tessemae’s Balsamic Vinaigrette in my handbag and it’s no big deal…
- Fill out your salad or bunless burger with a fat source. Fat provides satiety and it’s no secret that we love all things avocado! If the veggies have been sautéed in olive oil, you’re set. But otherwise, ask to add avocado, a side of guac, or follow Melissa Hartwig’s cue and add an egg on top! Tip: Be sure the guacamole doesn’t contain sour cream or mayo…
- A build your own plate option is the best route since customization is already expected. (In Dallas, HG Sply, Al Biernat’s, Modern Market, TJ’s Seafood Market, Flower Child, and Mudhen all offer such options. Chipotle also works in a pinch!)
- Order first! You’re more likely to be persuaded to change your game plan after hearing friends’ non-compliant orders. Get it on paper before you’re led into temptation!
- Another reason to call ahead: the server may not know exactly how a dish is prepared. Always ask the chef! Even the most personable server can’t be well versed in all allergens and Whole30 compliant options. If you’re at all weary of the information they provide or meal they suggested, politely ask for a second opinion. “I have a dairy allergy, do you mind double checking with the chef that there’s no dairy source in the mayo?”
- Assume the only experts are those in the kitchen preparing the dish. That being said, our server at Mudhen was extremely knowledgeable on the Whole30 guidelines. This is a rarity, but with the rising awareness of the Whole30 you may encounter this more often (yay)!
Important! Remember that part of the Whole30 experience is focusing on the enjoyment of nourishing your body with a healthy meal! Don’t forget to slow down and savor the food and the company ☺
What We Ordered at Mudhen:
Brunch was incredibly fresh, flavorful, and filling! Check out our orders and Whole30 modifications…
- Kimm’s Scramble (two eggs, two egg whites, diced tomato, red onion, spinach, avocado, herbed chevre cheese)
- Black coffee with nutpods
- Whole30 Modifications: omit cheese, add Whole30 bacon.
- New English Breakfast (two eggs, Applewood bacon and chicken sausage, sweet potato mash, roasted heirloom tomato, toast, and dressed arugula)
- Black coffee with nutpods
- Whole30 Modifications: omit sweet potato mash for cauliflower rice, omit toast, request Whole30 bacon, request lemon and olive oil for dressing.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Please comment with any questions or feedback, and feel free to share your Whole30 dining tips with us as well. I’d love to do a future post with tips from readers!
For more info on where to connect with Whitney and Whitness Nutrition, see the links below:
- Instagram: @whitnessnutrition
- Website: whitnessnutrition.com
- You can also subscribe to Whitney’s newsletter!
- Each week she features a What Would Whitney Order (WWWO?) option from new/local restaurants. Setting an example and walking the talk is vital to her practice and it’s mission!
Thanks for stopping by…Have a great day!
Photography: Megan Weaver