Our nutrition expert Stefanie, helps make eating-out and ordering-in a happier, healthier, doable experience …x
Several years ago I put this list together to guide my clients through the process of making healthier choices when ordering out or eating in. Hope this helps you as much as it’s helped them.
Another thing, NEVER be afraid to ask questions as to how a dish is prepared, ingredients used, etc. And NEVER be afraid to ask the chef to prepare a dish to your specific liking (with oil vs. butter, no salt, etc.).
YOUR GENERAL GUIDELINES
What to avoid
When making food choices say “no” to foods that are fried, cream-based, buttery or covered with heavy sauces/gravies. “Sauce on the side” are the magic words.
Limit restaurant offerings (i.e. bread/rolls, chips) to save your appetite for your wholesome meal.
Stay away from multiple courses and prix fixe menus (appetizer, soup, salad, entrÃ©e and dessert); choose 2-3 courses depending on how hungry you are.
What to go for
Good words on the menu to look for include: boiled, broiled, steamed, baked, grilled and sautÃ©ed.
Eat slowly and stop eating when full; forget how your parents trained you to eat everything on your plate … start off my making it a point to at least leave one bite.
Never hesitate to inquire about a menu item’s ingredients or how it’s prepared.
When buying prepared foods, always ask when food was prepared and what’s in it.
Some healthy appetizers include shellfish, steamed dumplings, pita with humus, or chicken satay (rather than fried chicken tenders).
Steer clear of greasy appetizers, such as Buffalo wings and potato skins.
Steer clear of fried appetizers. such as tempura and egg rolls.
Soups with clear and tomato-based broths are healthful; cream can be hidden in many soups so inquire about the ingredients if you are unclear
Chowder can be made with either a clear/tomato-based broth or cream base; try to avoid the cream-based chowders. Also, bisques are most commonly cream-based.
French onion soup, though a clear-based broth, is topped with cheese and bread
Use vinaigrettes, oil and vinegar, or lemon and olive oil to dress your salad; request that the dressing be put on the side so that you can use it sparingly.
Try to avoid creamy dressings like Caesar and Ranch.
If the salad is your entrÃ©e, try and make it as nutritious as possible by adding lean proteins (chicken, fish, tofu, beans) or high fiber grains (whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, millet).
Entrees and Sides
Choose lean protein (fish, white meat poultry or meat) that is broiled, steamed, baked or grilled.
Avoid entrees with sauces or gravies.
If ordering sides, stick with steamed or sauteed vegetables, baked potato, rice, or pasta with tomato sauce (or garlic and olive oil).
Fruit (not dripped in toppings or cream) is always the best choice.
Choose sorbet or frozen yogurt instead of ice cream.
If you must indulge, a plain brownie or piece of cake/pie is enough of a splurge; avoid sauces and toppings (chocolate shavings, whipped cream, etc.).
water is always your best option.
Finish your meal with tea rather than coffee.
Try to avoid sweet daiquiris and shakes; limit alcohol intake — not only do they add calories, the alcohol’s not great for your willpower.