Whole30: how to eat out

I did it. I managed 30 full days of eating completely compliant Whole30 foods. And went on holiday. And continued to have a social life. Hurrah!

I’m not going to pretend that eating out whilst doing Whole30 is easy. In reality, there are very few options and sometimes you feel like a bit of an idiot (like when you’re scraping mayo off a tomato slice or sending back mushrooms that have been cooked in butter despite you saying you couldn’t eat dairy). But it is possible, and enjoyable. I had a couple of really quite good dinners out during the last month. Shocking, I know.

So here are my top tips for eating out, Whole30-style…

Tip one: remember that the courgette fries at Byron come battered!
Tip one: remember that the courgette fries at Byron come battered!

Plan where you are going

If you just decide to go out for dinner, without a clue where you’re going, you’re going to be wandering around for a while. Check out restaurant menus first and check whether there’s something you’ll be able to eat (even if it’s with a few substitutions). Yes, it completely takes any spontaneity of the situation, but unfortunately, it is totally necessary.

Get used to asking for subs

I have never been good at being assertive in restaurants, but if nothing else, Whole30 makes you be. I only ate one meal out in the whole 30 days that didn’t require any amendments, so practice saying ‘no cheese’, ‘no dressing’ and ‘no bread’ like you mean it. Which brings me onto drinks…

Get used to saying ‘NOT CORDIAL’

The drinks part of Whole30 is absolutely the easiest. I mean, you can have tea AND coffee and neither are particularly improved with the presence of milk anyway. And, one of my favourite soft drinks normally is soda and fresh lime, which made it even easier. But the amount of people that think that ‘fresh lime’ means lime cordial… or lemon… or no lime… or just a completely different drink altogether is unbelievable. It’s also one of the drinks with the vastest ranging pricing I found, having been charged anything from absolutely nothing to over £2.

Learn to love steak

I’m pretty sure most people who eat meat already know that steak is bloody brilliant. I did not. But after eating it – albeit very tentatively – on my first dinner out, I now do. And that, along with a naked burger, is pretty much all you’ll be able to eat on most restaurant menus. But I had some very, very good burgers, so it really wasn’t a problem.

Go with people who are supportive

It really won’t be an enjoyable dining experience if you are having to justify and explain yourself throughout your meal. I am lucky that I dined with some very supportive and accommodating friends during my Whole30. And on several occasions I was with Charlie, who did the whole thing with me, which was absolutely invaluable. If you can drag a friend along with you on the journey – do!

Come back on Friday for my guide of where to eat (and not eat!) in London on Whole30.