eating healthy at restaurants

Summer is full of opportunities for natural movement and fresh local foods.

However, there are also plenty of social gatherings at restaurants of all types that don’t follow the healthy ways of summer.

Everyone enjoys eating out, and you shouldn’t have to give that up! Instead of choosing between staying home or ruining your diet, use these five simple tips below to achieve nutrition success every time you eat out!

  • Be picky: Most restaurants are more than willing to make adjustments to their recipes; provided, they have the ingredients to do so. Asking for grilled chicken instead of fried chicken, broiled fish instead of beer-battered, or condiments lite or on the side are all great ways to reduce the high fat content found in many menu options.
  • Ask Questions: French fries and tater tots are not the only side option available! Although often not listed, many places will offer fresh fruit or a small salad as an alternative side at no additional cost. In addition, asking questions about how the meal is cooked or if any meal is prepared solely “in-house” can give further insight into the nutritional content of the meal. Foods that are prepared “in-house” use limited processed ingredients which can reduce the sodium and added sugar content of your meal.
  • Understand Menu Terms: Menus can be confusing by using food preparation terms you may have never heard of before. In fact, certain terms may indicate being cooked in high-fat butter or deep fried in oil. Below is a list of common menu terms and their health implication:
    • Au gratin, scalloped, buttered, creamed and stuffed can all indicate foods prepared in cream and butter. These foods are often higher in fat and calories and frequent consumption can lead to an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases.
    • Steamed, roasted, broiled, grilled and poached all utilize a dry heat cooking method and typically are lower in fat. These are the menu terms to look for when trying to select an entrée preparation method.
    • Au jus, pickled, smoked, cured can all imply high sodium. Too much sodium in your diet can lead to high blood pressure and increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
  • Drink Water: Studies have shown that drinking water throughout your meal helps fill you up and curb your appetite. People who drink water with their meals are less likely to overindulge in the main course. Next time you are at a restaurant, swap a high-sugar soft beverage for a glass of ice water. Ask your waiter for a slice of fresh lemon or lime to jazz up your water even more!
  • Look at the Menu Ahead: Some menus can be overwhelmingly large. When going to a new restaurant, look at the menu online ahead of time and decide what you are going to order. By planning ahead you will be more likely to choose a healthier meal, and less likely to impulse order that bacon cheeseburger because you ran out of time looking at the menu.

Eating out should be a fun experience but it doesn’t have to compromise your health!

The next time you are ordering out from a restaurant keep the tips above in the back of your mind. It is important to remember that an occasional cheeseburger or side of cheesy scalloped potatoes will not totally compromise your diet. The problem comes about when these foods become a part of your regular diet, and overtime can lead to serious health consequences.

Blog post written by Trainer, Sarah Oliver

VIM is now offering nutrition services with Trainer & Nutrition Coach, Christine Galvin!

Click below to find out how you can benefit from 1 on 1 Nutrition Coaching!

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Father's Day Recipes

As we all know, Father’s Day is a special opportunity to show our Dad’s just how much they mean to us.

Good food enjoyed surrounded by family and loved ones is pretty hard to beat and will certainly show your Dad how much he means to you.

When planning a Father’s Day meal, a lot of us will immediately think of stereotypical “man” foods – thick and juicy steaks, meat smothered in barbecue sauce, fried or chilli-laden accompaniments and all washed down with a couple of cold ones. While the thought alone may have you drooling, it’s certainly not going to have such a positive impact on your old man’s health and wellbeing.

The key to the perfect Father’s Day meal is finding that balance between delicious and nutritious. Whether you’re planning a brunch, lunch or dinner for Dad, we have healthy and tasty recipes for every meal!

Breakfast: Veggie & Egg Tower of Power

Lunch: Crispy Black Bean Quinoa Burritos

Dinner: Grilled Filet Mignon with Herb Butter and Texas Toast

Dessert: Rhubarb and Strawberry Quinoa Crumble

Drinks: Fresh Cherry Lemonade

Blog post written by Trainer, Sarah Oliver

VIM is now offering nutrition services with Trainer & Nutrition Coach, Christine Galvin!

Click below to find out how you can benefit from 1 on 1 Nutrition Coaching!

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You have probably heard that omega-3s are the newest, healthiest fat around. But what are they really?

Scientifically speaking, omega-3 fatty acids are a types monounsaturated fats that have a double bond at the third carbon on their fatty acid chain. Is this important to know? Not really.

What you should remember is all the health benefits of a diet rich in omega-3s, and where you can find these foods!

Benefits of Omega-3s:

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Fights anxiety and depression
Improve eye health
Promote brain health during pregnancy and early life
Lower risk of heart disease
Reduce ADHD symptoms in children
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Reduce symptoms of metabolic syndrome
Fight Inflammation
Right autoimmune disease
Improve Mental disorders
Prevent mental decline
Help prevent cancer
Reduce asthma in children
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Reduce fat in liver
Improve bone and joint health
Alleviate menstrual pain
Improve sleep
Good for your skin

Woah! Now that is a list! Can you say superfood, anyone?

So now that you’re craving some good old healthy fat, where can you get it? I’m sure you’ve heard of salmon, but that’s not the only source! Check out these omega-3 packed foods, and a recipe to try them out!

Food Sources:

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Firm tofu
Fontina Cheese
Navy beans
Grass fed beef

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Mustard seed
Winter squash
Omega-3 Eggs

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Flaxseed oil
Wild Rice
Chia seeds
Red lentils



omega-3d spinach saladSuper Food Spinach Salad with Pomegranate Glazed Walnuts


  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • One 5-ounce container baby spinach
  • 4 ounces white button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced, about 1 cup
  • 3/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil


  1. Combine 1/4 cup juice with the sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small nonstick skillet.
  2. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces slightly, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the walnuts and continue to cook, stirring, until the nuts are coated and dark and the liquid evaporates in the skillet, about another 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a baking sheet to cool. When cool, break apart with your hands.
  5. Meanwhile, soak the red onion in ice water for about 10 minutes; drain and pat dry.
  6. Place the baby spinach in a serving bowl and top with the onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and walnuts.
  7. In a bowl whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons juice with the vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and then whisk in the oil.
  8. Drizzle over the salad and toss just before serving.

omega-3s oatmeal flax chocolate chip cookiesOatmeal Flax Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed, finely ground in a spice grinder, or pre-ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the flour, oats, flaxseed, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.
  3. Beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour mixture and beat until just combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool 3 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Blog post written by Trainer, Sarah Oliver

VIM is now offering nutrition services with Trainer & Nutrition Coach, Christine Galvin!

Click below to find out how you can benefit from 1 on 1 Nutrition Coaching!

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