Eating healthy and dining out may be two unrelated concepts in your world. But with the help of Debra L. Gordon and David L Katz, M.D., authors of “Stealth Health,” these two concepts can work together in harmony. Readers Digest has assembled 20 tips to eating smart when dining out which are excerpts from the aforementioned book. See some of our favorite tips, inside…
1. Above all else, be assertive. Dining out is no time to be a meek consumer, notes Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and coauthor of the book Restaurant Confidential. “You need to be an assertive consumer by asking for changes on the menu,” he says. For instance, if an item is fried, ask for it grilled. If it comes with french fries, ask for a side of veggies instead. Ask for a smaller portion of the meat and a larger portion of the salad; for salad instead of coleslaw; baked potato instead of fried. “Just assume you can have the food prepared the way you want it,” says Dr. Jacobson. “Very often, the restaurant will cooperate.” Below, you’ll find more specific requests.
2. Ask your waiter to “triple the vegetables, please.” Often a side of vegetables in a restaurant is really like garnish — a carrot and a forkful of squash. When ordering, ask for three or four times the normal serving of veggies, and offer to pay extra. “I’ve never been charged,” says dietitian Jeff Novick, R.D., director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Aventura, Florida. “And I’ve never been disappointed. I get full, not fat.”
11. Do the fork dip. The best way to combine salad dressing with salad? Get your dressing on the side, in a small bowl. Dip your empty fork into the dressing, then skewer a forkful of salad. You’ll be surprised at how this tastes just right, and how little dressing you’ll use. Plus, your lettuce won’t wilt and drown in a sea of oil.
13. Read between the lines. Any menu description that uses the words creamy, breaded, crisp, sauced, or stuffed is likely loaded with hidden fats — much of it saturated or even trans fats. Other “beware of” words include: buttery, sautéed, pan-fried, au gratin, Thermidor, Newburg, Parmesan, cheese sauce, scalloped, and au lait, à la mode, or au fromage (with milk, ice cream, or cheese).
16. Top a baked potato with veggies from the salad bar. Or ask if they have salsa — the ultimate potato topper, both in terms of flavor and health. Just avoid the butter and sour cream.
Check out the Reader’s Digest article for the full list.
If the eating healthy thing is just not enough fun for you, just pretend this list called “20 Ways To Annoy Your Waiter,” the list will work just as well for both.
Eat Smart When Dining Out: 20 Tips. [Reader’s Digest] (Thanks to Mike!)