Healthy-option food choices

2016-11-23 06:00
PHOTO: sourced  Minestrone soup.

PHOTO: sourced Minestrone soup.

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EATING out can be a dieter’s biggest challenge and healthy people need to be healthy food detectives when eating out.

Here is a guide on what to choose when eating out at your favourite cuisines without sacrificing your weight loss efforts.

Italian restaurant

Start with a soup, starter salad and finish with grilled fish.

Soups and salads are excellent ways to fill up at restaurants without filling up on calories. Minestrone soup is packed with filling vegetables and flavour and has 100 calories less than a cream-based soup. A house salad is a great starter as well. Be sure to ask for your dressing on the side and dip your fork first in the dressing and then in the salad.

For your main course, choose: grilled, poached or roasted fish, rather than breaded or fried, to avoid extra fat and carbohydrates. If you must have dessert, order a small portion of fresh fruit.

Japanese restaurant

Japanese menus emphasise lean protein and vegetables. Order some edamame to snack on while you choose the rest of your meal. A half a cup of edamame has eight grams of protein, six grams of fiber and only 80 calories. It will help you fill up and eat less during your meal. Choosing a seaweed or cucumber salad and a miso soup will further help you fill up on minimal calories. One sushi roll can have up to 45 grams of carbohydrates, which is equivalent to three slices of white bread. Try a Naruto roll, which is wrapped in cucumber instead.

Mexican restaurant

Be wary of large portions typical of Mexican restaurants. Instead of snacking on free tortilla chips, start your meal with a light appetizer such as raw fish ceviche or gazpacho. For your main, avoid items with the following words “gorditas, taquitos, tostadas” - all are fried or crispy. Stick to lean protein and vegetables like a grilled fish over a salad. When approaching the drink menu, a typical large blended margarita contains more than 500 calories. Order your tequila on the rocks and ask for it with just triple sec and lime juice.

Thai food

Many of us think of Thai food as the healthier version of Chinese food. As an appetiser, try some summer rolls, they are similar to spring rolls, but not fried. Spicy peanut sauce is a healthier choice than some of the heavy Chinese sauces, but make sure to get it on the side and use sparingly. Thai food still has many traps and knowledge on how to avoid those are key to making proper selections. “Pla” means deep fried and fancy versions of rice such as “sweet coconut rice” contains added sugar. Thai-style vegetables are flavoured with ginger, garlic, and chilies, so they can pack huge flavour for few calories.

Greek restaurant

Grilled octopus is a great starter because it is mostly lean protein. Another starter or “meze” to try is Gigandes­, which are Greek baked beans in tomato sauce. For your entrée, try Souvlaki, a traditional Greek dish that consists of grilled meat skewers (usually chicken or lamb.)

Order it as a platter rather than in a wrap and save yourself 200 calories from the pita. Get double the vegetables instead of the rice pilaf or potatoes that would usually accompany it.

Be wary of Greek salad. Feta cheese contains 75 calories per ounce (or the size of three dice), and most salads will have five ounces of cheese.



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