4-week challenge update: dining out & dining fast

Well, 1 full week down -- we've made it through a quarter of the 4-week pre-summer clean-eating challenge! I've been so glad to hear from some of you through facebook, instagram, email, and twitter (and some text messages - hi friends!) that you're following along. I've had several people tell me how much better they feel already and that couldn't make me happier. Your body loves clean eating!

We've now made it through a weekend, and I know weekends can be tough. Especially when it's cinco de mayo (sorry, poor planning?)... but sticking through it 100% is part of the challenge! And that's really how you can make the biggest gains through these 4 weeks. I ate dinner out on Friday, and restaurants are where I often splurge. But eating clean at Baba's Mediterranean Kitchen wasn't even hard -- this place's menu is FULL of healthy, natural, local ingredients. I went with the mediterranean quinoa salad with tomatoes, onions, cukes, and feta. Soo good! Definitely gonna try to recreate this one at home.

If you're going out to eat during the challenge, don't fear -- you can navigate those menus and find something challenge-approved! Unless you're at Five Guys. Don't go there. That would just be painful. 

So, what should you order?

Salads are often your safest bet, although not necessarily. Look for a salad with plenty of veggies and a protein like chicken, turkey, fish, or hard-boiled eggs, plus any yummy additions in moderation (a little cheese, dried or fresh fruit, nuts). Ask for a light vinegar-based dressing on the side, or ask your server for oil and vinegar on the side. Or, order a grilled meat like chicken or fish -- but be mindful of how they're cooking it and whether they're putting any sauces on it. Get a side of steamed veggies or a garden salad. Or go to places that you know serves fresh, healthy, natural foods - like Baba's! Chipotle is also a good option... order a salad or a bowl (with brown rice) with chicken, sautéed veggies, salsa, and a bit of guac... yum! 

Dining out is tougher during the 17-day diet phase, but it can be done. At that point your primary option is a green salad with nothing but veggies and either grilled chicken, turkey, or fish. Hard-boiled eggs if you'd like. Olive oil and vinegar on the side. Yeah -- gets old quick, but we're only doing it for 2 weeks! If you trust the restaurant's preparation methods, you can also get away with a grilled meat and cooked veggies.

I ran into another potential pitfall last week when I got home after a 12 hour day and didn't have anything prepared for dinner (my own fault). I was exhausted and starving... both risk factors for a challenge cheat! I needed something quick and easy, and this 10-minute chicken and broccoli stir-fry was perfect. I served it over leftover brown rice. Head on over to the Chicken Recipe Box to get the recipe.

How's the challenge going for you? Have you been able to dine out successfully? What do you reach for when you're starving and in a hurry?

I'll be back with more challenge-approved recipes this week! 

Oh, and 6 more days of this... then we REALLY start the challenge ;)

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