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Jewish Journal

A Guide To Eating Out & Eating Smart

by Sima Cohen

May 8, 2014 | 8:04 pm

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

​American/BBQ

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
​Egg whites
​Baked potato instead of mashed, go easy on the butter and sour cream
​Always grilled or baked – no fried
​Sweet potato fries

Chinese/Thai

​Kung Pao or Garlic Chicken
Beef and Broccoli
​Shrimp and Peas
​Mongolian Beef
​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

French

​Steak, chicken or fish dishes
​Salad with dressing on the side
​Avoid buttery pastries and creamy sauces

Greek/Middle Eastern

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

Indian

Chicken, Beef, or Shrimp skewers
​Any Veggie dish, such as bhagan bharta, vegetable jalfrezi, and aloo gobi
​Avoid curries, rice, and naan bread

Italian

Beef carpaccio
​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
​No calzones!

Japanese/Sushi

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

Mexican

Chicken, Beef, or Shrimp fajitas with Corn tortillas (no flour)
​Black or Pinto Beans (skip the rice and cheese)
​Carne Asada
​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.

Fast Food

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

Sandwiches/Deli

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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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Sima (which translates “Joy” in Hebrew) is poised to become the next big hit in health and wellness in America. An Israeli immigrant, Sima came to the states 20 years ago...

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