​How to Eat Healthy When You’re Eating Out Near Campus

So you spent last night out with friends, ate way more than you should have, and now you are on the verge of throwing yet another New Year’s resolution out the window: eating healthy.

By London Gibson

Before you give up completely, remember that a healthy lifestyle is a slow process and that you can still eat out without ruining your week of vegetables and perfectly-portioned meals.

As a college student, eating healthy is more important than ever. You need to stay awake in class, be alert while doing homework until the late hours and sustain your energy to participate in extracurriculars.

It may seem like a fairytale, but it is possible to eat healthy and have a fun night out with friends. Next time you are in the mood to eat out without ruining your healthy streak, check out one of these restaurants nearby campus and the healthy options they offer.

Dirty Martin's

A colorful meal is a healthy meal: Dirty Martin’s Texas Farmhouse Salad blends reds, greens, oranges and whites into a nutritious and satisfying plate.

A colorful meal is a healthy meal: Dirty Martin’s Texas Farmhouse Salad blends reds, greens, oranges and whites into a nutritious and satisfying plate.

The words “Dirty Martin’s” and “healthy” in the same sentence may be shocking at first, but do not be fooled by the greasy burgers and salty french fries. Dirty Martin’s offers quite a few options that are both fresh and nutritious.

For anyone wanting a delicious, summery meal, the Texas farmhouse salad contains healthful ingredients that are yummy and satisfying.The salad’s spinach leaves provide a good dose of iron, while the strawberries and mandarin oranges are packed with vitamins A and C. The salad is topped off with goat cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds, and a honey and cider vinaigrette.

If you have come to Dirty Martin’s craving something savory, try one of their delicious burgers, but without the bun. The hamburger patty alone is a good source of protein, but skipping out on the bun cuts unnecessary carbohydrates that fill you up without any nutritional value. Try a side salad or a fruit cup as a substitute for fries or onion rings.

Dirty Martin’s is one of the hottest places on the drag for the late-night munchies, but do not let your cravings for greasy food trick you into eating something you will regret. It is possible to get some yummy food at Dirty Martin’s without compromising nutritional value.

Chipotle

Chipotle is a favorite among students; it's almost always full of customers.

Chipotle is a favorite among students; it's almost always full of customers.

The cheap menu at Chipotle makes it hard to resist getting an extra bowl of chips and salsa. However, rather than succumb to the siren calls of salty chips that may eventually result in tummy aches, go for a more balanced option.

The secret to eating healthy at Chipotle is knowing how to order. Avoid burritos and tacos in order to skip the empty calories in the tortillas. Empty calories, calories with no substantial nutritional value, are prevalent in starches, including tortillas and rice.

Choose a salad or a bowl instead, and add some meat for protein. Instead of rice, fill up with some black beans (also full of protein) or some fajita-grilled veggies. To top it off, avoid cream-based sauces and go for fresher choices. Salsa, lettuce, and even guacamole are smart ways to flavor your meal without layering on fatty sauces.  

Many students at UT think you can only find greasy and fast food on Guadalupe Street, and Chipotle’s notoriety as the guilty pleasure of college students only supports this claim. However, some students wish that Guadalupe Street offered places that aren’t so greasy.

Despite Chipotle’s unsavory reputation, finding a meal that is healthy can be done. After a while, those cravings will go away and you will be glad that you chose fitness over flour tortillas.

Kerbey Lane

Kerbey Lane Cafe is famous for its pancakes, but their dinner menu is just as worthy of the attention. The Greek Chicken, with hummus, spinach leaves, tabouleh and pita bread, is a balanced and tasty meal.

Kerbey Lane Cafe is famous for its pancakes, but their dinner menu is just as worthy of the attention. The Greek Chicken, with hummus, spinach leaves, tabouleh and pita bread, is a balanced and tasty meal.

The famous Kerbey Lane Cafe boasts its sinfully sugary pancakes and 24-hour breakfast, but it contains lesser-known healthy dishes as well. In fact, there is a large amount of “good-for-you” meals at the Kerbey Lane Cafe, even on the breakfast menu.

If you are dying for breakfast food, try the eggs francisco. A simple english muffin with scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato, and avocado. Skip the queso and get fruit and black beans as your sides, and you have got a hearty and appetizing meal full of protein and vitamins.

If you are at Kerbey for dinner and do not feel like breakfast, the little-known Greek chicken is a hearty alternative to the staple burger and fries. This plate comes out of the kitchen steaming with all natural chicken breast, spinach, tomato, olives, and feta cheese, and is served with a side of hummus, tabbouleh, and grilled pita bread, rounding out a large but nutritious meal.

Protein from the chicken, iron from the spinach and olives, vitamins C and A from the tomatoes, and calcium from the cheese all contribute to this dish’s multitude of nutrients. It is a simple, no-nonsense meal of plain foods without garnish or excess.

Pluckers

Short and to the point: Pluckers’ sign directs hungry customers indoors.

Short and to the point: Pluckers’ sign directs hungry customers indoors.

It may seem impossible to even think of getting a healthy meal at Plucker’s, the haven of wings and fries. However, Pluckers offers a grilled chicken garden salad that, while admittedly is not as deliciously greasy as its wings, is much better for you.

The salad is relatively simple, containing grilled chicken, iceberg and romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, cabbage, and garlic croutons. Salads seem boring to a lot of people but can actually be very satisfying. However, if you just cannot resist ordering some of those yummy fried chicken wings, try ordering a side salad to go alongside it.

At restaurants like Pluckers where everything on the menu seems overwhelmingly bad for you, remember that it is more important to eat more healthy food than obsess over eating less unhealthy food. Rather than restrict yourself from every guilty pleasure food, try to incorporate something that is good for you into every meal that you have.

At restaurants like Pluckers where everything on the menu seems overwhelmingly bad for you, remember that it is more important to to eat more healthy food than obsess over eating less unhealthy food. Rather than restrict yourself from every guilty pleasure food, try to incorporate something that is good for you into every meal that you have.

Torchy's Tacos

Torchy’s tacos are usually queso laden and dripping with grease, but the Mr. Orange is a healthy alternative with just as much flavor.

Torchy’s tacos are usually queso laden and dripping with grease, but the Mr. Orange is a healthy alternative with just as much flavor.

Torchy’s Tacos, an Austin favorite, is known for its wildly fun tacos like the trailer park and the scallawag. While Torchy’s may sell tacos that are “damn good,” they are not always “damn good” for the arteries.

Even though Torchy’s externally appears like just another greasy taco place, there are few items on the menu friendly to the healthy eater.

A few healthy options include Mr. Pink, a seared ahi-tuna taco is topped with cabbage, queso fresco and chipotle aioli sauce on a corn tortilla, and Mr. Orange, a blackened salmon taco topped with grilled corn, black bean relish, queso fresco and avocado salsa on a corn tortilla.

Both salmon and tuna contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which are very important for both body and brain health. In addition, the tacos avoid the traditional cream-based toppings like queso for the fresher avocado salsa and chipotle aioli sauce.

Next time you go out with your friends and have the urge to order the cheesy and oily foods that you are craving, slow down and go for the Mr. Pink or Mr. Orange instead. Most cravings can be subdued with milder foods that boost your body’s health, not those that detriment it.

Madam Mam's

Madam Mam’s Guay Teaw Gai Toon contains a hearty portion of chicken breast, rice noodles, lettuce and chives in a light five-spice soup.

Madam Mam’s Guay Teaw Gai Toon contains a hearty portion of chicken breast, rice noodles, lettuce and chives in a light five-spice soup.

The enormous menu at Madam Mam’s has a myriad of healthy options, especially in the soup and salad sections. By looking in these sections, you can avoid the go-to fried rice or stir-fried noodles and still get protein and a satisfying meal.

A light five-spice chicken soup, the Guay Teaw Gai Toon has chicken breast slices, Chinese mushrooms, rice noodles, lettuce, and a garnish of peanuts and chives.

Rice noodles contain little nutrients, but are a healthier substitute for fried rice. In addition, the chicken breast is the leanest part of the bird, according to the Chicken Farmers of Canada. The order comes with enough soup for two, making it perfect for taking home and eating the next day.

Hearing the words “let’s eat out” should not incite dread. Gone are the days where you felt like your only options were to guilty binge or miss out on fun nights with friends.

Eating out and eating healthy seem like antonyms, but with the right information they become synonymous. Making healthy choices at restaurants is important to living a healthy lifestyle, and living a healthy lifestyle is too important to ignore.

In the long run, your body will thank you.