It can be very difficult to maintain a sense of control when dining out at your favorite eatery. Especially when portion sizes in America are so oversized. The USDA recommends that we eat half of what is offered for lunch in most restaurants, and 3 ½ times less than what is offered for dinner!
From coffee shops to fast food chains to the larger restaurant conglomerates- and, yes friends, even a health food store- overdo it. A typical restaurant meal now contains at least 60% more calories than the average home-cooked meal, and serve two to four times what you should be eating at any given meal.
A few years ago, Olive Garden began offering a never-ending bowl of pasta, salad and breadsticks for just $8.95. Sounds cheap, right? But just one breadstick costs you 150 calories, while a bowl of salad is "only" 350 calories. Even before your entrée arrives, you’ve already consumed 500 calories from that delightful, forever-filled bread basket that beckons your taste buds.
60% of chefs in this country serve steaks that are 12 ounces or larger. Holy cow! Your serving of protein should only be about 4-6 ounces. Most chefs also serve up 2 cups of pasta when ½ C would suffice, while they cut back on the most important part that should rather be tripled: vegetables. Chez backward!
Eating Out: A Restaurant Guide
Order your hamburger protein style or on a whole wheat bun
Light mayo or skip it altogether, mustard and ketchup are okay
Turkey dog instead of beef
Meat chili, light on the cheese and sour cream
Turkey bacon and white meat chicken breast
Baked potato instead of mashed, go easy on the butter and sour cream
Always grilled or baked – no fried
Sweet potato fries
Kung Pao or Garlic Chicken
Beef and Broccoli
Shrimp and Peas
Avoid rice or noodles
Any chicken dish that isn’t breaded or deep-fried
Ask chef to cook dishes with Pam or go light on the oil
Steak, chicken or fish dishes
Salad with dressing on the side
Avoid buttery pastries and creamy sauces
Beef or Chicken Kabob or Shawarma – No lamb
No gyros or falafel bowls
Greek Salad, Tabouleh, Hummus, Baba Ganoush (with Tahini instead of mayo) or Tahini spread
Skip the fries, rice, pita, and stuffed grape leaves
Chicken, Beef, or Shrimp skewers
Any Veggie dish, such as bhagan bharta, vegetable jalfrezi, and aloo gobi
Avoid curries, rice, and naan bread
Chicken or Fish dishes with tomato or marinara sauce – avoid alfredos
If you can’t avoid pasta, make sure the dish includes a protein and veggie
Get a pizza that has lots of meat and veggies, light on the cheese and thin crust (NY style)
If you can’t resist the bread, tell your server not to bring it
Sashimi or brown rice sushi and rolls
Any cooked fish dishes, such as Bass, Cod, Salmon, Tuna, or Tilapia
No fried tempura dishes
Grilled calamari, steamed dumplings – not fried
Chicken/Beef teriyaki with sauce on the side
Edamame, miso soup and low sodium soy sauce
Soba or udon noodles
Chicken, Beef, or Shrimp fajitas with Corn tortillas (no flour)
Black or Pinto Beans (skip the rice and cheese)
Guacamole – go easy on the sour cream and cheese
Grilled Fish Tacos with shredded cabbage
Taco or Tostada Salad – don’t eat the bowl!
Order a la carte or have your meal packaged up in separate containers and save for leftovers.
Order protein style or double up on the meat
Get oatmeal with nuts and/or fruit
Get a wrap and skip the dressing
No fries, onion rings, or milkshakes – go for a baked potato, apple slices, or chili instead
Order a salad and skip the croutons, bacon bits, and cheese – dressing on the side
No soda – order water or iced tea
100% Whole Wheat, Sourdough or Rye bread
Ask for extra meat, low sodium if possible
Load up with veggies, go for one slice of cheese or no cheese
No mayo or light on the mayo – mustard is better
Don’t add extra salt, but pepper is okay
Skip the chips and cookies
Wishing you best of health and success, and may your weight loss journey be stress-free and delicious!
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