From Florida Hospital Apopka
Have you ever gone to a restaurant intending to eat something healthy, only to have your plans quickly derailed? We spoke with Sherri Flynt, registered/licensed dietitian at Florida Hospital, about what you can do to stay on track while dining. She offers a guide to four common nutritional traps — a flood of fat, carb overload, deep-fried dangers and bloated portions — in four popular cuisines so you can make smart choices while savoring every bite.
Italian — Order a whole-grain crust pizza topped with cheese and lots of vegetables. Avoid “double cheese,” sausage or pepperoni. If you crave pasta, stick with tomato-based sauce instead of cream sauce. Have your spaghetti as a side dish (one cup) alongside salad and chicken, rather than as a main entrée, which can be several cups.
Chinese — Vegetables are a mainstay of Chinese food, with greens such as bok choy, gai lan and broccoli taking a front seat. Replace some of your noodles or rice with extra vegetables. Opt for stir-fried dishes rather than deep-fried options such as egg rolls or breaded chicken. Get high-sodium black bean or soy sauce served on the side, and use them sparingly.
Indian — Enjoying Indian food is a tasty way to eat more fiber-rich beans. Opt for dal (spiced lentils, peas or beans) made without too much oil, or try chickpea curry. Tandoori meats are a delicious and lean choice. Limit dishes made with lots of oil, ghee or coconut milk (the calories add up quickly), and rely on flavor from spices instead. Order dishes with gobi (cauliflower) or palak (spinach).
Greek — Grilled meat and chicken are lean, but they’re usually served with potatoes AND rice. Replace one of them with vegetables. Go easy on the salty dips such as taramosalata. Start with a cucumber and tomato salad instead.
Most menus are filled with refined grains. Always choose whole-grain options when available. If refined grains are the only choice, keep the serving size small. And since restaurant portions are oversized, get in the habit of saving half for later or share.