When trying to shed off excess weight or trying to maintain a diet that is fat and cholesterol free, eating in restaurants can be a challenge. Of course, you will still need to socialize and yes, your diet regimen should not stop you from eating out.
It’s difficult to eat out and make sure that you are not packing on the pounds. Eating a giant burger one night is just so hard to burn on the treadmill the next day. So you’re stuck in a difficult situation, but you know that you have to keep a balanced lifestyle.
If your work or your lifestyle requires you to dine in a restaurant often in a week, here are ways to stick to your diet and not ruin a lovely lunch in Maggiano’s Little Italy, Easy Side Mario’s, Max And Erma’s or Benihana.
Know Your Cuisine
First step in choosing a restaurant is knowing what type of cuisines are lean and healthy and which ones are not. Many restaurants, especially those which serve American and Italian cuisine, are loaded with protein and carbohydrates.
American restaurants usually specialize in food like burgers, which are layered with lots of cheese and beef. Italian restaurants serve a lot of pasta and pizza, which are also rich in carbohydrates and cheese. If you are on a low cholesterol diet, best to stay away from them.
The best type of cuisine for the weight conscious are Japanese, Indian or Thai restaurants. This is because Asian cuisine usually is less fatty, have small portions of meat and has larger portions of vegetables. Fresh Thai spring rolls that are dipped in chili sauce and hand rolled Japanese maki are just a few low calorie dishes that you can enjoy.
That is why when eating out, choose wisely. The healthiest order should be composed of 50% vegetables, 25% carbs and 25% protein.
Know your terms
There are many ways of cooking food and the way they are cooked will usually determine their calorie content. You have to know the meanings of terms like “grilled” and “broiled” and “steamed” mean. Usually, fried foods are the worst when it comes to fat content.
Deep fried onion rings or potato skins are the worst when it comes to fat. They add up about 300 to 400 calories to your meal, and the potato skins are just side dishes.
There are other words that refer to dishes that are loaded with salt. These words are “dipped”, “gratin”, “crispy” or “scalloped.”
Stay Away from Oil and Butter
Most upscale restaurants use a lot of butter to make their dishes more delicious. Less expensive eat out places use a lot of oil. Ask your server about how the food is prepared to make sure that what you’re ordering is not off the charts.
Butter and oil are delicious when they are added to food but makes you form fat faster. Overconsumption of fatty foods may lead to various heart illnesses and is the main reason why a lot of people are obese.
If your food is oily or sautéed in a lot of butter, look further at the menu for something lighter. Foods that are baked or grilled are more delicious and healthier options.
Go Lean and Green
Sometimes, a good salad just won’t cut the mustard. If you are in a steakhouse, go for a filet mignon or a lean cut steak rather than a rib eye. This is because lean cuts have less fat, while a rib eye steak already has 1000 plus calories per serving.
If you have an option to get chicken or turkey, then best to have a dish that has that. But make sure that they are not breaded or deep fried. Baked chicken breast fillets are equally tasty.
When ordering a salad, going all out on dressing might not be the wisest choice. Dressings like blue cheese or ranch are very good to eat but not good for your weight. Look for healthier alternatives like olive oil vinaigrette or satay sauce.
Don’t be shy
Most restaurant servers are very knowledgeable when it comes to their menu. But not all of them know how their food is being prepared. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about how their food is cooked.
For example, if you are ordering soup, ask the server how the soup is prepared. Oftentimes, the server will say that the soup is a puree. Ask the server if cream or butter is added to the puree. If the server doesn’t know, ask him to check with the kitchen. Butter or cream in your soup will add a hundred calories already and best to stay away.
If you are bent on having cream of mushroom soup, then maybe you should skip cheesecake for dessert.