Eating out frequently has become a way of life for most Americans. This need not change because you are trying to eat healthier. The key is to order wisely. Don’t be afraid to ask how something is prepared or to make a special request. Most restaurants are eager to please their patrons. The following tips should make dining out a little easier.
- Choose entrees that are grilled, baked or broiled; avoid anything fried.
- If you crave a steak, order a petite filet.
- Steamed vegetables are best. Avoid items that are described as scalloped, au gratin, bathed in cream, butter sauce, alfredo sauce.
- Ask for fat-free salad dressing or have regular dressing served on the side. Dip fork into dressing then stab salad for optimal taste with minimal fat.
- Broth, tomato based soups/sauces are better than fatty alternatives.
- Avoid fries, chips that usually accompany sandwiches. Replace with fruit…
- Choose fresh fruit or sorbet for dessert. If an occasional high fat, sugar laden dessert can’t be resisted, share it with a friend
Chinese: Oriental foods can be good choices, if you choose wisely. It can be difficult eating at Chinese, Japanese, or Tai restaurants. So be alert! Order steamed rice and stir-fried entrees that feature small portions of chicken, fish, or lean meat with lots of vegetables. Always request that your dinner be prepared with less oil. Avoid fried foods, cream or cheese sauces, nuts and fatty meats. It would be best to opt for vegetarian dishes as much as possible. Ask for your favorite dish to be steamed or stir-fried without oil. Worst Choice: Kung Pao Chicken.
Mexican: Order a la carte. Skip the refried beans and refried rice (both are made with lard). Ask the cook to go light on the cheese. No sour cream or guacamole, and avoid the fried foods ie: enchiladas and tortilla chips. Instead, ask for soft flour or corn tortillas for dipping into your salsa.
Pizza: By having no meat on your pizza you will eat much less salt and fat! Ask that only half the regular amount of cheese be used on your pizza, or better yet, ask for your pizza without cheese. Also, ask for extra vegetables and then ‘lightly’ sprinkle each slice with some grated parmesan cheese. Hand tossed pizza, thick and thin crusts are ‘OK’…..but be sure to stay away from pan pizza, cheese filled crust pizza and triple decker pizza.
Burgers: Avoid cheeseburgers as much as possible. If you must have mayonnaise and cheese then pick just one, don’t have both. Skip the bacon-double, triple and double decker, deluxe burgers. Also, say no to those ‘special sauces’, fried fish and chicken sandwiches. Forego the French-fries and instead order a salad, fruit, large orange juice or a milk.