February 5, 2014
Best Food Choices at Restaurants

Dining out is a friend and a foe. Friend to convenience and flavor. Foe at times to your waistline and/or pocketbook. Though not ideal to do often, going out to eat a meal or two at a restaurant is very reasonable. So how do you know the healthiest choices to make? Here are my top tips:


- Look ahead at the menu    And the nutritional info if provided

- Don't go in over-hungry     Have a snack and some water before

- Go for protein + veggies    Pick a-la-carte or substitute sides if you need to

- Don't be afraid to ask    Remember the wait staff is usually open to adjustments, it never hurts to ask!

- Avoid crusted, fried, stuffed, cream sauce-based or battered    A ton of hidden fat and calories 

- Go for grilled, baked or steamed    Less added calories usually added to these prep methods


Here are a few examples:

  1. Chicken shrimp or tofu stir-fry, no rice and extra veggies with the sauce on the side

  2. House salad with chicken, salmon or shrimp, with dressing on the side (use the fork trick: dip your fork into the dressing with each bite to use less dressing without compromising flavor!)

  3. Grilled chicken, white fish, filet or tenderloin, or salmon with extra steamed veggies or a side salad (dressing on the side!)- plus any sauces or butter used for the meat served on the side

  4. Sashimi with steamed edamame and side salad, dressing on the side

  5. Chicken or prawn skewers with veggie soup (check that the veggie soup does not have cream base) 

  6. Lettuce-wrapped turkey, chicken or veggie burger with side salad, dressing on the side and/or side of fresh fruit

  7. Cocktail prawns with side salad, dressing on the side

  8. Seared ahi with steamed extra seasonal veggies

  9. Chicken or shrimp fajitas with corn tortillas or extra veggies

  10. Taco salad without the shell and sour cream, and salsa as the dressing


You may have noticed that most of those suggestions focused on stage 1-3 foods. It's not that you always need to avoid beans, grains or starchy veggies when dining out. It's just that most often there are hidden calories in meals you get at restaurants, so sticking with high-satiety and lower-cal entrees and sides helps you err on the side of caution. Usually a good idea :)



Written by Erika Brown

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