6 Tips for Eating Healthy at a Restaurant – Oubre Medical

6 Tips for Eating Healthy at a Restaurant


We decided to sit down and have a chat with our practice owner and MD, Dr. Philip Oubre, and functional nutritionist, Aubree Steen.

We're diving into another 4 part series focusing on brain health.

We're diving into part 1 here, following with:
1. 6 Tips for Eating Healthy at Restaurants (this video)
2. 7 Tips to Make Eating Healthy Fun For Kids
3. 7 Tips for Easily Transitioning Your Kids Diet
4. Eating Healthy: Simple and Quick Dishes to Make at Home

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:00):
Hey guys. Today, we're going to be talking about some tips for eating out. We all eat out. We like to eat out. It's a social thing. We love eating food and enjoying company, but there's things that go wrong when you eat out. Typically, we eat our worst when we're eating out. Smells and happiness tend to lower our guard and we make poor choices. So Aubree is going to help us out with six tips for eating out to help you make better choices and fall prey less often.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (00:28):
Yeah. Because it's kind of like we use the eating out as an excuse to lower inhibitions. We're like, "We work so hard outside of this. This is the day." Yeah. Right. But then you have birthday dinners and work dinners and things like that. So at least when you go out, you can feel like, "Hey, I'm compromising and I'm trying to still enjoy my time with people." First thing that you can do is try to prep beforehand. Sometimes you're not able to do this, but if you can look online and look at the menu beforehand, at least you have an idea of where you're eating. If you have a gluten and dairy allergy and you're going to go to an Italian restaurant, chances are that you're maybe going to be able to eat one thing.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (01:00):
Or one thing I was making a mistake of is I just don't know what something and I'm too foolish to be like, "Well, what does that word mean?" And then it comes at us like, that was bread. That was some fancy word for bread that was not crouton or something that I recognized. It's happened so many times like, "Oh, I didn't realize that was a grice."

Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:19):
Or that's a buttermilk sauce. So that's the thing. View the menu beforehand, see what you can do. Second-

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (01:28):
Use Google to find out those strange words.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:31):
Yes. The Google, which is good. And if honestly, I've had friends who are very open to this-

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (01:36):
Why are you pointing at me?

Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:36):
No. I just said I have friends who are very open to this, but if you feel like, "Hey, I literally can't have anything at this restaurant," see if they're able to compromise and go somewhere else and then you can pick the decisions after that. Second thing, stick to two main choices of gluten and dairy free. If you're on paleo or if you're on AIP or something, do the best that you can. But at least no matter what, try to do gluten and dairy free. Chances are you're going to be able to scope out which food items are gluten and dairy free, but they always sneak it in there, which comes to my third point. I know we're kind of rolling through these pretty quick.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (02:08):
No. It's perfect.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:08):
Third point is if you -

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (02:10):
People that are impatient, they want to like, "What are the six? Give it to me."

Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:14):
Third point is, if you feel like a restaurant is not taking you seriously about gluten and dairy free, say you have an allergy. I worked in the service industry for 10 years at very nice restaurants. And the second you say you have an allergy, it is everyone on deck making sure that that food item is not in your dish that you ordered. So say you have a gluten and dairy allergy. They'll take you very seriously after that because their job is on the line if they don't. And even if you don't have an allergy, say someone in the service industry is getting mad at me right after watching this, take a breath. You can still have food reactions that limit food allergy symptoms. So just because you don't technically have an allergy does not mean that the food is detrimental to you. So take it seriously, feel comfortable saying you have an allergy. Don't feel like you're lying because-

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (02:57):
If you eat gluten and you get fatigue and brain fog for three days and that's a gluten sensitivity, not technically an allergy, who cares? You still feel like crap for three days. So do you want to feel like crap for three days or would you rather just say, "I have an allergy," and a little light lie to get along with it?

Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:13):
Right. Sometimes we feel like at restaurants tip number four, that people bring you food that you can't say no to. I know. So tip number four-

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:22):
In Texas, the chips and salsa.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:24):
Chips and salsa, free bread, little things like that. Sometimes it's hush puppies, which is insane to me. They're very good. But try to, when you sit down, tell the waiter, "Hey, if there's anything, no chips and salsa, no bread-"

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:36):
Don't bring it.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:37):
Don't bring it at all. And if you feel bad if they bring it automatically, just say, "No, that's okay." Someone in the back will eat it. Let's be honest, they will. Or if they're not a compliant restaurant, someone else making the dish. So you're never wasting food for that reason. You've probably made someone else very, very happy, but just tell them no. Get it out of your sight because what happens is most patients come to us and they're like, "You know what? I was doing really, really good until they brought the chips and salsa, until they brought the free bread. I couldn't say no."

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (04:04):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). And if someone else is at the table that did order that or did allow that to happen, then make sure you order an appetizer for you that will work with your dietary restrictions because let's be honest, our willpower's only so good before we can be like, "Oh, I'll just have one chip." You can't just have one. So order something that you can have to start appeasing that appetite, so you're not ravenously hungry by the time the food comes and you don't feel the FOMO, the feeling of missing out.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (04:33):
Sometimes it's good. That's why you should look at the menu beforehand, if you can, even on your phone in the car on the way there, not driving of course. So when you sit down and you go, "Hey, can I go ahead and get the [inaudible 00:04:42] and just tell their server like, "Bring it out for me ASAP for the appetizer." Yeah. Tip number five, avoid phrases like crunchy, breaded, fried, crispy. What else? Battered.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (05:03):
All those tricky gluten words that I don't recognize like, "It did it again".

Aubree Steen, FNTP (05:04):
Yeah. So just avoid those word phrases. Best thing would be grilled or sauteed or roasted if they have that on the menu. And then last but not least, it's really easy to kind of pick something that's compliant. I wouldn't go for the salads because more often than not, there's going to be dairy in the dressing, gluten in the dressing, which is wild, but it's usually there, some sneaky ingredient, refined sugars, things like that. So what you want to do is actually look for like a grilled fish or meat because most of the time, they'll have a veggie with it.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (05:35):
Mini vegetables. [inaudible 00:05:36]

Aubree Steen, FNTP (05:36):
Yeah. And that's not every type of restaurant, a Mexican restaurant. I mean, get fajitas without the tortillas and without the sour cream and cheese and it's actually really incredible, a ton of meat and veggies. So just try to see that way. That's going to be more healthier and there's usually more options for you on that end.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (05:51):
We're in Austin, so we're lucky. A lot of times, the menus already have gluten-free or the little wheat symbol, which is ironic, but the wheat symbol for gluten-free. So a lot of those restaurants already have it, but don't be afraid to ask for a gluten-free menu. A lot of the chains now are catching on to the gluten-free trend. So even though it's at a restaurant you wouldn't typically think of as gluten-free, the chains might have a gluten-free menu that they just haven't handed out. So just ask and it makes life so much simpler than like looking at all the foods you love and want, and you just have your gluten-free menu and those are your options and you don't even have to necessarily worry about it because everything is in that either naturally gluten-free or they know they have a gluten-free substitute. But of course, be careful with the dairy. Generally and in my eating out experience, my dairy sensitivity is not so bad that I have to avoid butter, so I don't really go for the making sure that you avoid butter at all costs, but at least avoid all the cheeses and things because there's numerous times I've looked at a menu and thought, "Oh, it's like refried beans at a Mexican restaurant. I never put cheese in my refried beans, but everyone else does."

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (06:54):
How many times have I gotten the dish and I'm like, "It's got dairy in it." And so just make sure if you mentioned it to the server, "Hey, I have a dairy allergy or something," they don't have to go as far as butter. Most people don't even consider butter dairy anyway. It is. But at least that way, they'll be on the lookout for like, "Oh, we sprinkled cheese on this for no reason," and then instead of trying to pick it out and it just comes without it.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (07:16):
Friendly tip, you will never be annoying to a server who is acting-

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (07:19):
But that's not true.

Aubree Steen, FNTP (07:20):
Well, no. If you're being kind and considerate. If you're being kind and considerate and say, "Hey, I have an allergy." Don't feel embarrassed. You can tell them you're embarrassed. They only have a little bit more empathy for you, plus they make money off of you. So if they can make you happy and then you tip well, then it's a win-win situation. Every single time someone gets my allergies right, I tip a ton of money. I'm like, "Thank you for not killing me. Thank you. Thank you." But yeah, anyways, I know this is pretty quick, but those are about six different tips that you can choose to pick... I'm sorry.

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (07:51):
We hit a little segment [inaudible 00:07:52].

Aubree Steen, FNTP (07:55):
I was like, "I'm short circuited for a second."

Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (07:57):
So we have a nutrition course online and grocery store tour online. So we want to encourage you to go check out our courses because in these short videos, you can learn lots of things. But of course on the courses, we'll go into more detail about why gluten, why dairy, where are the hidden places and all that. So look at our courses online so you can learn more and take control of your health. And that's on our website with [inaudible 00:08:17] medical.com. Of course, follow us, like, and subscribe to our channel and we'll see you next time.

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