When eating out, you really don’t know what ingredients are being used or the calorie levels of many of the dishes you consume.
But you can learn to choose healthier meals by knowing the menu terms that signal a dish is higher in calories than you want.
Here are some of the terms that can clue you in:
1. Crispy. Yes, we all know that anything deep fried contains unhealthy fats and is high in calories. But oftentimes restaurants leave off the term “deep fried” and use the term “crispy” instead. When ordering your entrée salad topped with chicken, pass on the one with the crispy chicken and choose the one with grilled chicken instead. If crispy noodles top a dish you’re ordering, ask them to hold the noodles or put them on the side so you can have just a taste of them. These are small ways you can still eat out and stay on program at the same time.
2. Creamy. Creamy soups, sauces and dressings are a sure give-away to dishes made with high calorie and high fat ingredients like cream or butter. Alfredo is another term that denotes a sauce made with sticks of butter. Instead of dining out on dishes that are not heart healthy, bypass the creamy dishes and go for the healthier sauces or condiments instead. Sauces made with olive oil, wine or herbs can make a dish quite tasty without all those extra calories. Another trick is to ask for some barbeque sauce or salsa, which can make a great accompaniment to fish like salmon.
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3. Bottomless. Certain restaurants pride themselves on offering bottomless drinks. But if you’re someone who drinks regular soda, this practice can add hundreds of calories to your meal. And when someone else is doing the refills, it’s easy to not even notice just how many drinks you’ve consumed at one meal. There’s also something about liquid calories that makes it hard to gauge when you’ve had enough. Commit to drinking water or non-calorie drinks when eating out at these types of establishments.
4. Upsize. Whether at a fast food restaurant or a movie theatre, you are often bombarded by various promotions to upsize your order. For just a few cents more, you can get a larger popcorn and drink, a larger order of fries with your meal or a larger sandwich. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a great deal. What may seem like a good deal for your pocketbook is actually a terrible idea for your health. These promotions to supersize your food only adds unneeded calories to your diet and inches to your waistline.
I hope these four tips will encourage you to make smarter choices when eating out or ordering in.