Monday, October 19, 2009

Dining Out Without Fear

Too many meals planned to eat out? Scary! No, it need not be. There are a few rules to follow:

1. Think vegetables first. Order a salad or vegetable soup as a starter. Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables slow brain aging and may help prevent age-related mental decline. That’s actually not what you’re thinking when the fresh bread arrives and you’re starved. So …

2. Don’t arrive at the restaurant ravenous; you’ll finish the breadbasket. Instead eat a yogurt or banana one hour before the meal.

3. If you do plan to have some bread, only eat whole wheat bread with no butter.

4. Take two minutes longer than you deem necessary to look at the menu. Use willpower and make good choices!

5. Choose a nutritious entree, which will be just as delicious as fatty, creamy choices, with the bonus that you’ll feel good afterwards!

6. Meal options: Order 2 appetizers, share an appetizer and a entrée with a friend, or order your own entrée and take leftovers home with you to enjoy the next day.

7. End the meal with fresh fruit, hot tea or decaf cappuccino instead of a rich dessert.

8. Good rule of thumb: leave the restaurant feeling comfortable enough to walk for half an hour.

Here are some good options for eating out that will make sure you leave as happy as when you walked in:


Water, mineral water, diet soda, lemon and orange punch, herb tea, two or less glasses wine or alcoholic beverages. Any more alcohol and you forget about eating well.


Soups: bouillon/broth, tomato, lentil, bean or vegetable (minestrone). Limit cream based soups or onion soup

Salad with light dressing. Avoid Caesar salad

Steamed clams or mussels, grilled calamari. Limit breaded or deep fried anything


Meat (cut off the fat), fish or chicken (take off the skin) - steamed, broiled, baked, roasted, barbecued or poached, prepared in its own juice, tomato juice, marinara, white wine or lemon juice. Eat 1/3 – ½ portion and bring home the rest.

Brown rice, 1/2 boiled/baked potato, 1 cup pasta or couscous.

Extra large portion of steamed vegetables.

Avoid porterhouse, T-bone or prime-rib meats.

Use sauces, gravies, butter, sour cream or mayonnaise sparingly.


Fresh fruit, sherbet, Italian ices, biscotti, angel food cake or share your favorite dessert; coffee or tea with milk, cafe latte (non-fat milk) or espresso.

Here are some ideas for different cuisines:


Pizza: thin crusts, little or no cheese, plenty of vegetables.

Limit pepperoni, ham, sausage, or bacon.

Pasta fagioli, pasta primavera, tortellini in broth, pasta in a light tomato or white wine sauce (marsala), ravioli, tortellini and agnolotti with vegetable or lean-meat fillings, veal cacciatore, grilled seafood, roasted or grilled vegetables.

Limit bruschetta, garlic bread, oil-marinated antipastos, deep fried calamari, stuffed clams or mushrooms, stuffed artichokes, pasta with alfredo, pesto, carbonara or cream sauces, risotto, lasagna, cheesy parmigianas, or veal picata.


Wonton and hot-and-sour soup, steamed dim sum, dumplings or rice with stir-fried beef, chicken or prawns, chow mein, chop suey, tofu, egg foo yung, vegetables.

Limit deep-fried or battered foods such as spring rolls and pot stickers.

Limit dishes with sweet-and-sour or peanut sauces.


Gazpacho or black bean soup. Beef, chicken, seafood fajitas, chili, enchiladas, burritos, soft tacos, rice dishes, salsa or tortillas. Definitely half portions!

Limit cheese, guacamole, sour cream, deep-fried tacos, corn chowder, chili con carne, nachos, chimichangas, refried beans or deep-fried ice cream.


Miso soup, salad, teriyaki dishes, sushi and sashimi, nakemono, yakimono, stir-fried meats, chicken, fish, tofu, steamed rice and vegetables.

Limit tempura or deep-fried dishes, chicken or beef katsu.


Fish soup, clear soup, steamed mussels, Thai salad with lemon dressing, basil beef or chicken, ginger beef or chicken; beef, chicken or seafood satay's or kebabs, and steamed rice.

Limit Thai rolls, pad Thai noodles, coconut milk, peanut or curry sauces.


Mulligatawny soup, cucumber raita salad, tandoori dishes, tikka dishes, kebabs, shrimp bhuna, fish mesala, biryani, pilaf, pullao, lentil dishes (dahl), basmati rice with vegetables, and breads (not fried): chapati, naan, pulka, padars.

Limit samosas, pakoras, khorma, bhajis, coconut soup, poori, dishes cooked with butter, cream, ghee or cheese and fried breads: bhatura, padars, paratha, naan.

Limit desserts such as: jalaybee, gulabjamine.

Fast Foods

Plain burger with tomato, mustard, lettuce; grilled chicken on a bun; 6”whole wheat sub (turkey, beef or seafood, lots of vegetables, Limit mayo); quarter-chicken dinner (no skin), baked potato, salad with little dressing; Japanese stir-fry; pizza with lots of vegetables and less meats and cheeses; vegetable soup with plain roll.

Limit burgers with cheese, special sauces, bacon, chicken nuggets, deep-fried chicken or club sub, rib combo dinner, fries, gravy, Caesar salad.

Bon Appetite!