Eating healthy doesn't mean living in a cave... hahaha. Nor does it mean avoiding eating out in order to reach your health goals.

Going to a restaurant is, many times, not even so much about the food, but more about the social interaction, a celebration, or maybe just a night to not have to do the dishes.

It can also sometimes be out of necessity, like you ended up being out much later than expected and dinner time was quickly approaching.

This story is from over a year ago, but similar situations happen to us all the time. We had dropped off our boys at my in-laws' house so we could have a date night. Our plan was to go to the gym together (which is actually a treat since we usually bring the boys with us) and then cook dinner together at home. We live in a very remote area and don't have many restaurants nearby, so we more often choose to eat at home than go out.

Well, towards the end of our workout, my husband's phone rang – it was the mechanic telling us our car was fixed and ready for pickup. He told my husband that, even though they close at 5pm, he would stay open until we got there. It was exactly 5pm and the mechanic was 45 minutes away (insert a very sad and hungry Isabel).

Of course, my husband wanted to get the car and said, "Isabel, we'll just find something out to eat somewhere around there."

What? Just find something to eat? Isabel does not simply "find something to eat" LOL! But I knew picking up the car was important, so I decided to roll with it.

By the time we got the car and went over some details with the mechanic, it was after 6pm and my inner alarms were about to start sounding the hangry sirens (hangry = hungry + angry). I quickly found us a little casual cafe that was only open until 7pm and we raced over there.

Here's exactly what I ordered from the menu:

(In case you can't read that, it's the Chicken Salad – grilled or fried chicken on a bed of salad greens with tomato, cucumber, carrots, sliced almonds, Swiss and cheddar cheese, and a fresh baked croissant.)

Nine times out of ten, there will be a grilled chicken salad on any menu. I truly can't remember the last time I went to a restaurant and there wasn't one. Now, I don't want to live a life of grilled chicken salads forever, but I know that can be my backup plan no matter what.

I ordered the grilled chicken salad, asked our server to hold the cheese (too much non-organic dairy tends to make my skin break out), and to bring the dressing on the side.

When my salad arrived, there was a mountain of croutons on the top, which I pushed off to the side, and a huge croissant that I totally forgot to tell her I didn't want.

This little innocent croissant reminded me of a simple truth that I have talked about before when it comes to eating out...

Often times, it's not that there are no healthy choices on the menu, it's that there are far too many unhealthy temptations.

I thought about all my wonderful members and how difficult a situation like this could be for someone who was just starting out on their healthy eating plan.

The amount of strength it takes to say "no" in moments like these can be overwhelming, which is why we must ask the Lord to step in in situations like this one.

So the challenge truly is not finding something on the menu that would easily fit into your healthy eating plan, the true challenge is saying "no" to every item – on the menu, on the table, or even on your plate – that may derail you from your healthy eating plan.

No situation will ever be perfect, but you can arm yourself with the right tools to make any dining-out experience much easier on yourself.

First, if you're able to and you know where you will be going ahead of time, look up the menu online. Take a quick look at your options and think through what healthy choices you have to work with ahead of time. You may even want to post a picture of the menu and some questions inside our New Life Promise Family Facebook group so we can help you make the best choices. Remember, we're all in this together, and we created our family page so no one ever feels like they're navigating this healthy lifestyle alone.

Second, if you can, you may want to take your healthy salad dressing with you. I've done this so many times, and I can't tell you how thrilled my friends are when I pull Isabel's Famous Salad Dressing out of my purse... LOL. If that's not an option, I will often just ask for olive oil and lemon wedges and use that as my dressing.

Third, ask for your greatest temptations to not be brought out at all. If you're someone who struggles with bread, I know my above situation (where the croissant came right on my plate) would have been difficult. In that moment, I could have put the croissant on a small plate and asked the server to please just take it. Don't ever be shy or embarrassed about any "special requests" you may have. Trust me. They have seen it all, and if it helps you stay on your healthy eating plan, just ask nicely and they will be happy to help.

My prayer for you is that this way of eating can truly be something you will enjoy as a continued lifestyle. With all the wonderful recipes we provide for you inside New Life Promise and LiveSmart, there is never any reason to not enjoy delicious food. And when it's time to eat out, you will have all the tools, knowledge, and the help of the Father to help you get through even the hardest situations.

Are you ready to join the New Life Promise Family and eat delicious food while transforming your health? -> Click HERE to start on your health journey today