In my first months on the plan, I felt baffled by eating out. My current favorite was Dove Vivi, a place with amazing gourmet pizza with a corn meal/wheat crust and a beet/gorgonzola salad that was to die for. I also liked the beef and cheese enchiladas at Esparza's, the raviolia at Pazzo's...you get the idea. The idea of eating a wimpy dinner salad while others munched on was off-putting to say the least. But eating out is a huge part of the Portland social life and I enjoy that, so I had to figure some things out. Here's what I learned:
1. Go online and read the menu. Nearly every place has a menu online and you can quickly see what you can get. Cobb salad, hold the cheese? Good idea. Any place with a shrimp salad or a meat salad is a good possibility.
2. Call ahead. Is the chef willing to make you a big plate of steamed vegetables and a piece of grilled fish even if it isn't on the menu?
3. Become a salad connoisseur. What places have the heartiest salads? Can you order steamed or raw veggies on the side to put on your salad? Don't hesitate to ask for no dressing. Sometimes I carry a tiny tupperware of dressing with me. Or I get lemon juice and salt.
4. Indian buffets are great at lunch. They cook with little wheat (skip the bread) and not much dairy and lots of veggies.
5. Thai restaurants too are pretty safe as they cook with coconut milk.
6. Nearly anyplace will make you a huge salad and put a hamburger patty on it or by it.
7. Vegetarian restaurants can work but you have to go vegan and still ask about wheat.
As I only eat meat once a day (sometimes only every other day), I always save my meat possibility for a lunch or dinner date, in case #6 is my best option. I'm no longer afraid to go out and have gotten good about asking for what I need. Most places are very accommodating. And if they aren't, I eat a little and go home and have a smoothie.