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Nutrition: SURVIVING A RESTAURANT MENU

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Realistically, most of you will be going out to eat at least once per week.  Whether it is for lunch or dinner, here is a tip that has helped me choose a healthier meal as well as feeling satisfied before I walk out the door.

  • Look at the ENTIRE menu and utilize various components (e.g., sauces, dressings, vegetable medleys, starches, proteins, etc.) to complete YOUR dish.
    • ITALIAN RESTUARANTS: side salad or minestrone soup to start.  Half order of gnocchi that is typically made with cream sauce, BUT substitute it for the marinara sauce that has been paired with the spaghetti and meatballs.  You could mix and match almost any sauce with any protein or pasta dish.
    • SANDWICH & SALAD CAFES:  when ordering a salad, check out if there are particular vegetables from the sandwich section that could added to your greens.  For example, I ordered a Greek chicken salad the other day and asked for the roasted eggplant, squash and zucchini medley to be added to my salad—this medley was originally spotted on the Vegetarian Panini.  Cross-utilization.
    • AMERICAN/STEAKHOUS:  If you want the salmon or steak, but aren’t thrilled about the butter loaded mashed potatoes on the side, then substitute it for double vegetables or look at other starches on the menu that could easier pair well with the protein.  Brown rice pilafs, half of a baked sweet potato, or the dinner roll that comes in that ever-so-tempting bread basket.
    • BURGERS/BARBEQUE:  A lot of burger or barbeque restaurants can make delicious vinegar-based coleslaws.  To get extra vegetables out of a grilled barbeque chicken sandwich, leave the top half of the bread on the side, ask for your chicken “dry”(meaning bbq on the side) and a slaw to top as your “vegetable” condiment. Pair with a side salad or steamed vegetable.
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