Diets in Review - Find the Right Diet for You

how to dine out



How to Dine Out: Pub Food

pretzel and beerWith 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:
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How to Dine Out: Chinese Food

Chinese food is a genre of food with various flavors and sauces that can be very yummy, but also pack a punch in terms of calories. Depending on where you go for your Chinese food, you can in many instances find buffet options and quick serve restaurants in your local mall or shopping center. Beware of buffets, as with any genre of food, because this type of eating provides too many temptations for over-filling the plate and repeat visits.chinese shrimp

Popular dishes such as Sesame Chicken, Sweet and Sour Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken should not be kept on your list of go-to options. These types of meals are fried – a major offense right off the bat and then covered in sauces that are full of sugar and in some cases MSG, which is not something you want to be ingesting. Check out my newsletter article from June 2008 where I highlight the negative effects of MSG.
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How to Dine Out: Italian Food

italian foodNavigating the menu at an Italian restaurant can pose many challenges and if you are the type to shy away from carbs then it can become that much harder. I am a big supporter of well-balanced meals, which entails a mixture of protein, carbohydrates and fat. These types of meal combinations can be found in many areas on the menu at an Italian restaurant, but it’s easy to get tripped up with all cheesy goodness that is woven throughout as well.

From pizza to parmesan and even baked ziti there are some pitfalls that if avoided will help keep your dining experience a yummy, but healthy one, too.
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How to Dine Out: Thai Food

thai spring rollsI already had a love for Thai food years ago, but deepened that love on my honeymoon, when I went to Thailand. Hotels featuring pad Thai at breakfast was like a dream come true, but of course I wasn’t watching my calorie intake on the trip and wasn’t focusing on which entrees were healthier than others.

While not all Thai food utilizes coconut milk, it certainly can play a large roll, especially in the famous curry dishes. Coconut milk is loaded with saturated fat (not the good fat) with 45 grams per one cup, but has been shown in studies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. My first tip here is to go light on any dishes made with coconut milk or inquire to see if they have a lighter version of coconut milk that your meal can be made with instead. If selecting a curry dish, stick with leaner protein options like chicken.
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How to Dine Out: Mexican

Mexican food can certainly be one of the more challenging cuisines when eating out, as there aren’t many low-fat items to choose from, and several dishes are full of fried foods. Add on calorie-filled margaritas and tortilla chips to start and you are already filling up on unneeded fat and calories before having even ordered your main course.strawberry salsa

Dishes at Mexican restaurants are usually on the larger side with the addition of rice and beans accompanying the meal. To help prevent overeating, I would first suggest ordering a house salad, which should entail tomatoes, cucumbers, corn and some avocado for your healthy fat. This starter salad will also help in the avoidance of eating the full entree when it arrives or you can ask for half the portion to be put in a to-go container.

Some terms that you should look to avoid on the menu are: fried, crispy, refried, breaded and cheese. Instead look for items that are baked or grilled and request sauces on the side so you can control the amount on your food.
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