Eating Out and Staying Slim: How to Eat Healthy at Delaware Restaurants
Yummy restaurant foods can kill any hopes of donning those bikinis. But there are ways to dine out without beefing up.
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Tricks of the Trade
Italian dishes often rely on olive oil, which in its fresh extra-virgin state has health benefits. What you may not realize, though, is that some restaurants toss the pasta with a liberal splash of olive oil before they sauce it. You’ll only know for sure if you ask.
Butter is another sneaky ingredient. Many chefs finish a sauce with it. “It gives it a good mouth feel and coats the tongue nicely,” explains Laurie Diaz, a private chef and former restaurant owner. “It adds a nice shine.” And, yes, it adds calories.
Ask the server if a sauce has butter and/or cream. “If you’re not sure, ask for it on the side,” Diaz suggests. “You have more control about how much is going on your food.”
Dennis Forbes, chef-owner of Cool Springs Fish Bar & Restaurant in Dover, is happy to oblige customers who ask him to hold the butter or oil. Since the meals are prepared to order, that’s not an issue. “We have special requests every night,” says Forbes, who keeps rice flour on hand for gluten-free patrons.
If you feel like sauce-less fish is a little, well, bland, try salsa or chimichurri sauce, Diaz says. Or ask for a light pan sauce made with wine, stock, tomatoes and fresh herbs.
Avoiding salt? Ask if stocks are made from scratch. “Some chefs take shortcuts and mix water with a stock bouillon,” Georigi says. “These are typically loaded with sodium.” You won’t have that problem at Abbott’s Grill in Milford, where soups and stocks are made in-house.
Unless you’re in a high-end steakhouse, where beef is presented without even a parsley garnish, most meals come with sides. Diners want value, which means they don’t want to see the bottom of a plate. Restaurants oblige with huge portions. “How many times do you hear people say they’re stuffed and that a restaurant gave them too much food?” Hanson asks. “But if you don’t, you get blasted for it. It’s a tricky road in the American economy.”
Learn about portion sizes. According to the Food Network, one serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards. A helping of pasta or rice is the size of a tennis ball. A baked potato shouldn’t be larger than your computer mouse.
Savvy diners with self-control immediately portion their food, then take home the rest. That’s not easy for most of us. “I’m a member of the clean plate club,” Thomas admits.