In May, I posted a few strategies that can help you navigate a restaurant menu to make good choices for your body and your health. This week I will share three more fat traps to beware of when eating out.
A vegetable entree sounds virtuous but they can also be bad news. Note the ingredients in your main dish. How much cheese is included? Is the dish fried? Chefs tend to use more oil in vegetarian dishes to make up for the missing fat in the main ingredient. Next time, stick to veggie entrees made with cauliflower, sweet potatoes or parsnips which absorb less fat than eggplant and mushrooms. Ask how the vegetables are prepared. Grilled and roasted are good. Ask if the soup is made with a vegetable-broth base or with heavy cream.
The plate is smaller, there is less food on it so that should equal less calories, right? When you share a bunch of tapas, it's easy to lose track of how much you've eaten. Psychologically, you don't feel full the way you do after finishing a meal off a single plate. Plus many small plate offerings are fried or drowned in oil. Next time, stick to 2 or 3 small plates per person and include protein, vegetables, and carbs. Making it a balanced meal will help you feel more satisfied.
It is actually common for people to assume that gluten-free means healthy. In fact, gluten-free desserts (or mains) are often just as decadent - or more so - than their gluten-containing counterparts. Some chefs use more sugar or fat to offset changes in taste and texture, while others use dense nut flours, which are more caloric than the grain variety. Next time, remember that a piece of cake is a piece of cake, whether it's gluten-free or not. It's a treat that should be savored. If you are gluten sensitive, look for desserts that are naturally gluten-free such as meringue and sorbet.
Be empowered to make informed choices. Delight in the time with your friends and family. And always, Enjoy Your Food.