We all eat out every now and then. It’s even required in some professions in order to establish relationships and conduct business in an informal environment. So, how do we maintain a low fat diet while fulfilling the social and business requirements of eating out? It’s easier than it seems, despite what some would have us believe. Whether it’s fast food or fine dining, you can eat out and lower the fat in your diet.
Facing Fast Food Fat Fears: With the media proclaiming how bad fast food is for us and our legislatures trying to make certain foods illegal, it might surprise you to know it’s possible to have a low fat meal even at the big fast food places. Of course, like everywhere else, we have to use discipline to make the right choices. This means avoiding the fried foods and the various burger, rib, chili, sausage options which all add fat to the diet. Most fast food restaurants offer a variety of salads with the dressings on the side. Also, we can usually find a fish filet or chicken breast option (choose grilled or baked, not breaded and fried). Since our bodies turn sugars into fats, choose diet sodas or water to round out the meal. Some fast food places are offering fresh fruit as a healthy dessert option but we can probably get that for much less elsewhere. With these simple fast food tips, we can easily cut our fat from these restaurants by 80%. With the more upscale restaurants we have a far wider menu to choose from, making it easier to use the following tips to cut fats while dining out.
Degreasing Dressings: Dressings and sauces are a favorite way for chefs to add flavors to foods and a favorite way for us to enjoy those flavors. Unfortunately, whether it’s a simple Italian dressing or a creamy Alfredo sauce, these great flavor enhancers enhance the fats even more. How do we enjoy the flavor of eating out and cut these fats? All we need to do is order all of our dressings and cheesy/creamy sauces on the side. Restaurants are used to these kinds of requests and will have no problem serving you. Instead of pouring the dressings on, we just dip each bite in them. This ensures we can enjoy the flavor but not be forced to eat a lot of fat just because it’s already in the dish. Like Mom used to say, “It’s easier to put it in the food than it is to take it out.”
Pruning Piggy Portions: Many families, mine included, praised their children for being able to eat a lot of food and expressed concern when they didn’t. When I was a young adult, I bragged about how much I could put down. Now that I’m older, fatter, and suffering from diabetes, I’m pretty certain overeating is nothing to brag about. One of the easiest ways to cut the fat while eating out is to divide the main dish and the carb into portions before we start eating. We just decide to eat one portion at the restaurant and take the rest home. That’s why they have “people” bags! We can cut the fat even more by choosing the right main dish.
Fowl Fish Fight Fat: Most good restaurants have the menu marked for “heart-healthy” or low fat meals, but, even if they don’t, you can make low fat choices. If it flies or swims, chances are pretty good it’s lower in fat than the other choices. Just like with the fast foods, avoid breaded or fried foods. So, we can choose baked or grilled seafood and poultry dishes to lower the fat in our diets. Skinless white meats are the lowest fat choices in poultry.
Miscellaneous Munching Morsels: These tips are tossed in on the side to help you in your low fat dining experience. Sour dough bread is the lowest in fat. Always order breads with no butter or margarine (you can add it at the table). Usually, the clearer the salad dressing the lower in fat. Oil and vinegar-very low…ranch-very high in fat. White rice or baked potato (all flavorings on the side) are the lowest fat choices in carb dishes. If the menu doesn’t say, always ask how the main dish is prepared and use the above tips as your guide. Tea, Black coffee, diet cola or water are the non-fat beverage choices. It’s probably best just to skip the restaurant desserts unless you make a special trip just for dessert once or twice a year. Hey! A little bit won’t send you to the hospital. Eating is more than nutrition or we wouldn’t have so many taste buds.
Now, we can enjoy eating eat out without the guilt and fear of consuming too much fat. By following These few, common-sense tips, we can satisfy the social and business demands that we eat out and still stay on a low fat diet.