With football, basketball and hockey season in full swing there are plenty of opportunities to get together with friends at your local pub or watering hole for dinner and drinks while watching the games. Menus at these types of restaurants aren’t typically diet friendly with appetizers and entrées encompassing mostly fried options. The key to navigating this type of menu, and making your choices, is to mix and match items you see on the menu. Try the rice from one dish matched with the grilled chicken from another dish; don’t feel you have to stick to how the meals are laid out in front of you.
Pub food recommendations and tips:
- Salads – Naturally a salad may sound like the healthiest choice, but that can quickly change with what is included in that salad along with the dressing. If the chicken is fried or there is fried ground beef in a taco salad along with a ranch or creamy dressing you are looking at a whopping 800+ calories for one meal. Request to have items grilled and dressings be put on the side.
- Burgers – The selection of burger offerings and toppings can provide a wide variety of choice. A turkey burger is a great alternative with leaner meat contributing to fewer grams of fat and calories. If a beef burger is a must, cut down on the toppings you choose including mayonnaise, cheese, bacon and other condiments and fill it with extra veggies. You may even try it without the bun!
- The Sides – Most entrees come with a choice of fries or onion rings, but as mentioned above, don’t be afraid to mix and match your meals. Substitute the regular side with an order of rice, vegetables or even a baked potato.
- Liquid Calories – Whatever your alcoholic drink of choice, calories can add up quickly. Try to keep the number of drinks to a minimum and stick with lighter beers that will help keep the calorie count for an average drink lower. When drinking wine or mixed drinks, beware of the size of the glass; a larger glass per drink could have you doubling your calorie count per drink without realizing it. (Learn more about the calories in alcohol.)
Try making healthier versions of your favorite pub food at home:
- Swap nachos for the Southwestern Chicken PileUp
- Swap fried for these Stuffed Mushrooms
- Swap bean dip and queso for this 7 Layer Dip
- Swap beef burgers for this Mediterranean Turkey Burger
- Swap fried wings for these Buffalo Chicken Wings
- Swap chicken strips and fries for Winning Fried Chicken and Parmesan Pepper Sweet Potato Fries
This concludes our “How to Dine Out” series. I hope you enjoyed learning about how to eat better in Mexican, Thai, Italian, Chinese and Pub Food restaurants. If you have a genre you would like to hear more about post a comment with your genre and I will be happy to write another blog post to continue the series.
Up next is my weekly series on vitamins. I’ll be touching on the most commonly known and needed vitamins our bodies need and how to get them in your system whether through foods or supplementation. Stay tuned for this new series to kick off next week!