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Choose wisely when dining out! Choose wisely when dining out!

Choose wisely when dining out!

As you know, food plays a very important role as part of our culture and heritage, and we do not need a special occasion to get together with family and friends over lunch or dinner. Rather it seems that our social life revolves around food.

Whether we have a family function, ordering in or dining out; with hectic schedules and a plethora of restaurants to choose from, finding a venue that can offer you healthy food choices may at first seem like a challenge especially if you are on a diet. However, by keeping these tips in mind, next time you plan to eat out or order in, you’ll be well on your way to smart dining! 

If you are choosing Italian, go for…

  • Minestrone or broth-based vegetable soups
  • Pasta made with tomato
  • Avoid any creamy and white sauces
  • Choose thin, crust pizza topped with plenty of vegetables; avoid toppings such as four cheese or pepperoni
  • Avoid the bread & butter basket
  • Sorbet instead of an Italian ice cream or Tiramisu

If you feel like Chinese, choose …

  • Clear soups such as Wonton or Hot & Sour soup
  • Dishes that are steamed, boiled, grilled or baked
  • Avoid the duck – opt for chicken instead
  • Steamed dumplings
  • Avoid deep-fried & tempura dishes
  • Steamed, boiled or stir-fried vegetables
  • Steamed rice instead of fried rice or noodles
  • Avoid fried banana desserts

Craving Mexican? Select… 

  • Grilled chicken or beef dishes
  • Ask for corn tortilla instead of flour tortilla
  • Stay clear of the sour cream, extra cheese & guacamole; enjoy salsa instead
  • Avoid nachos as starters
  • Have salad without the taco shell
  • Avoid refried beans – instead opt for steamed vegetables

Want some Arabic delicacies? Choose…

  • Tabbouleh  and Fattoush (with toasted bread not fried bread)
  • Hummus and Moutabbal (without the oil on top)
  • Limit fried appetizers such as meat/cheese/spinach fatayer or kibbeh
  • Go for the grilled meat, chicken or fish dishes
  • Skip the fried potatoes and ask for steamed rice instead
  • Avoid Arabic desserts such as knefeh, atayef & opt for fresh fruit

Want some International Cuisine? Opt for…

  • Clear soups or ask for no cream in your soup
  • Avoid the bread & butter basket
  • Choose lean cuts of steak such as round, flank, sirloin or tenderloin
  • Ask for steamed vegetables or baked potato (without topping) on the side instead of fries
  • Skip the gravy on top
  • Opt for lots of vegetables, avoid any mayo-based salads at the salad bar
  • If you choose a sandwich, go for whole-grain breads with fillings such as turkey and tuna (skip the mayo & add some mustard); have vegetables on the side
  • Always ask for salad dressings or sauces on the side
  • Choose water as your drink

Can’t be without the dessert? Then choose…

  • Sorbets instead of the ice cream
  • Low-fat or frozen yogurt
  • A small piece of dark chocolate or wafer with chocolate
  • Desserts that you can share as it cuts down the calories
  • Fresh fruit without added sugar or syrup

Remember that when you are dining out with family and friends try to pick restaurants that offer a wide variety of healthy food choices and don’t be shy to ask how the dishes you order are prepared and cooked. This way, you learn how to make healthy menu selections.

Good to Remember:

When eating out, do not drink your calories away by ordering soft drinks, sugary beverages or sweetened juices. Always opt for water.

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