Restaurant Food Swaps

Hey friends!

First of all thank you SO much for all the birthday wishes. Holy moly you all are kind. You know how to make a girl blush 😉 And I totally loved hearing about your workouts! So great. I did totally ask my BodyPUMPers to add weight to their bars in honor of my birthday–and they did it! Awwwwww. Nothing spells love like adding some iron to the pumping!

Second of all a few of you guessed my age correctly! Congrats to Katie, Jessica, and Lindsay –I did turn 27 yesterday and it was totally awesome. My husband, family, friends, gym ‘family,’ and you all made it super special for me.

ready to head to dinner

Restaurant Food Swaps

My sweet husband took me out to dinner at Brio -a Tuscan Grille, and it was really delicious. The service was great, the ambiance was romantic, and the food was SO good. I wish I had had room to eat it all…..but on the other hand, I can’t wait for lunch to roll around today!

check out the blackened shrimp & chorizo flatbread

As you can see I ordered a dish that had Chorizo, which is a type of sausage meat. I do not eat red meat.

So here is what I did:

  • I pulled the waiter aside and asked him what Chorizo was (to make sure)
  • Then I asked him if they could make the dish without it (he said yes)
  • And then I asked him if they could SWAP it out with something else (he said yes)
  • So I swapped it for spinach
  • BAM. I got what I wanted.

SO delicious

A lot of people tell me they are afraid to ask waiters questions or to request that things be taken off, presented differently, or ingredients be added to their meals. Well, then WHY are you going to a restaurant where there are SERVERS there to do your every bidding, I want to say.

But instead I kindly let them know it is easy, smart, and much healthier to request things be done your way when at a restaurant.

And you’ll be much more satisfied when you leave. Promise.

Things I usually ask for or do at restaurants:

  1. If I am having a salad I ask for the dressing on the side <—especially if I might not like the dressing
  2. If I am having a food that might have fungus mushrooms in ’em, I ask about the dish and request it minus the fungus mushrooms.
  3. When ordering pizza I usually ask for extra spinach (or spinach instead of something else)
  4. I usually eat a little bit of bread (if it is really good like last night’s was) so my stomach is not too empty before the main meal. This means I can eat most of my meal but save the rest for another day.<—my favorite! Score. I love leftovers.
  5. I always ask about the soup of the day.
  6. I usually mention I do not eat red meat if I am ordering a meal that might have hidden meat in them (i.e. soups)

crusty bread. delish.

It was truly a marvelous meal (and the company was superb!)

We finished it up with some (free!!) restaurant cake, fro yo (a must have on my birthday), and homemade carrot cake. (p.s. I was too full to finish any of these, but we had tastes of all. YUMM)

carmel chocolate cake

thin mint, mint, vanilla, pomegranate

homemade carrot cake (amazing!!) + praline caramel ice cream

Such an awesome birthday.


I am off to kick some major treadmill butt. I am in the MOOD to run!

What are some of YOUR favorite restaurant swaps?! How many desserts do you usually have/taste on YOUR birthday?? :)

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  1. I’m so glad you had such a great birthday, Annette!! I love all of your delicious looking eats too! I do a lot of the same “food swaps” you do when I go out to eat. I’m not a big red meat eater so I usually sub it out for something else, I ask for my dressings on the side, no extra cheese, etc. I definitely have a few more desserts/treats than usual on my birthday because I love them! I have a huge sweet tooth, so I live it up on my birthday. I try not to go overboard, but like you, just taste a little of everything. :) (Or at least the last couple years… before that was another story!)

    • No extra cheese is a good one if the cheese is nasty. hah.

      Glad you feel like you too can have nibbles here and there–cheers for steps toward healthy living :)

  2. Glad you had a nice birthday! Hope your year is just as nice and yummy.

    I am a bit shy about food swaps. I always think it’s a hassle to the restaurant but I guess you are right that we shouldnt feel that way. I like all your healthy food swaps. They seem like small changes that I’m sure make a huge difference. And bonus, more room for dessert at the end!

    • Oh yes–do not be SHY miss Joanna :) they’re there to serve you and all your crazy wants and needs. Hah.

      my husband (and friends) always think I am nuts, but I always get what I want!

  3. So funny that you don’t like fungus. Mushrooms are quite healthy you know.

  4. And I’m glad you had such a wonderful birthday! Wow, you are 27? That is getting kind of old!

  5. I’m a jerk and late on this- HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
    I love this post- I am the ultimate restaurant menu item swapper. I know it drives my husband crazy- but really- you are paying for a service and they are making it to order, so what’s the big deal? But I’m sad to see that you don’t like mushrooms- you are missing OUT girl!
    For pizza, I always get 1/2 the cheese and double the veggies (but generally- I make pizza at home and rarely order it out).
    And the bday desserts look soooooo good…
    And seriously- 27? You are just a baby. :)

    • awww thanks for the birthday love –I guess I am still a baby then :) I’ll take it! hah.

      I like that idea of doubling the veggies, never thought of that–thanks!

  6. i didnt get a chance to comment yesterday but HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! we are the same age! :)

    we have similar restaurant swaps..i always ask for my dressing on the side bc i hate for my salad to be drowning in dressing. i enjoy dressing, but i could eat a salad plain honestly!
    I’m always substituting sides for extra veggies, bring it on!!

    its so funny, usually on my birthday I feel I eat so much at dinner I never have room for dessert or cake..but i always have a little sliver anyways 😉

  7. Happy Birthday!!

    I do a ton of the same at restaurants and I always trade pasta for grilled veggies.

    That carrot cake looks amazing : )

  8. Oh I LOVE carrot cake!!! For my birthday my brother got me a gluten free cake! It was too sweet. And I used to rarely ask for changes to my food (other than leaving things odd salad and dressing on the side) but now that I can’t eat soy or gluten I’m forced to ask a million questions and make substitutions. I feel really annoying but I’m goIng to have to get used to it!



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