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The New Rules of Eating Out

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Considering that most of us go out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner five times a week, you would think we'd all be pros at avoiding restaurant fat traps. But while no one is going to mistake a Bloomin' Onion for a calorie bargain, a chopped salad is a sure bet...right? Like a lot of trendy new menu items, it sounds healthy, but it can make a surprisingly large dent in your diet. We rounded up the seven sneakiest dishes so you'll never get fooled into ordering fake health food again.

Sneaky, Sneaky

Fat Trap: Olive Oil for Dipping

While EVOO is heart healthy, most people go overboard, soaking up as much as a tablespoon -- or 119 calories' worth -- with each chunk of bread, says Marissa Lippert, RD, the owner and head chef of Nourish Kitchen + Table in New York City. "Dunk a couple of slices in oil and you could end up consuming 400 calories before your meal arrives."

Fix: Drizzle a little olive oil onto a small plate and add balsamic vinegar to dilute the fat and pump up the flavor. Or -- surprise! -- use butter. Cornell University researchers found that folks who spread it on their bread consumed 21 percent fewer calories per slice than those who chose olive oil. Butter eaters, however, consumed more bread, so cut yourself off after one piece.

Fat Trap: Chopped Salads

These can seem light compared with the other items on the menu at chain restaurants. "But because everything is so finely diced, way more fits in the bowl," explains Lippert, who says that chopped salads can contain upwards of 700 calories. "And the pieces are usually so small, you can't always tell what you're eating, which is crucial in terms of satiation."

Fix: Order a regular tossed salad instead. If you're building your own at the salad bar, add no more than five toppings and avoid crispy Chinese noodles, dried fruit and other high-calorie options. Either way, get your dressing on the side, along with a few lemon wedges or vinegar. Both make a little vinaigrette go a long way, according to Hope Warshaw, RD, the author of Guide to Healthy Restaurant Eating.

Fat Trap: Sweet Potato Fries

Yes, sweet potatoes are a superfood, but when cut into strips and deep-fried they're, well, fries. Plus, many restaurants overdo it on the salt to balance out the vegetable's natural sweetness, bringing the sodium count to a whopping 800 milligrams, as opposed to 40 milligrams for regular fries.

Fix: Gram for gram, sweet potato fries contain about the same number of calories as regular fries. But because it has more fiber, calcium and vitamin A, the sweet potato type is your better bet, says Pamela M. Nisevich Bede, RD, the author of Pocket Posh Dining Out Calorie Counter. The key is to keep portions in check: Eat only a handful and share the rest with a friend.

Next:  More Fat Traps

 

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SDpharma wrote:

Another fat trap is the actual language used to describe food items. You should avoid eating foods that are ?creamy? because this suggests higher fat content from butters and sauces; and you should avoid eating foods described as ?crispy? because this tells us it will probably be deep-fried.

2/25/2014 10:59:39 AM Report Abuse
SDpharma wrote:

Another fat trap is the actual language used to describe food items. You should avoid eating foods that are ¿creamy¿ because this suggests higher fat content from butters and sauces; and you should avoid eating foods described as ¿crispy¿ because this tells us it will probably be deep-fried.

2/25/2014 10:56:00 AM Report Abuse

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