Healthy Food Choices – Sit Down Restaurant

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,796
    Dietitian Sonya Kaster discusses ways to incorporate healthy choices when eating at a sit down restaurant.

    Sonya Kaster: Hi! I am Sonya Kaster with the Oliver Foundation and today we have been talking about ways to make healthy choices on the go. And right now I'd like to talk to you about ways that you can make healthy choices when you eat at a restaurant.

    I like to start off our meal with a salad and so as you see I have got two salads here in front of me and right now they seem to be pretty healthy choices. We have got one that's primarily of vegetables and then another one that's going to have some strawberries and oranges and as they stand or as they sit on their plate, they are really pretty healthy choices. So what are the sort of ways then when we eat a salad at a restaurant that we actually wind up putting on so many more calories?

    One of the ways is going to be by salad dressings. Most salad dressings that you get at a restaurant and less labeled on their menu are going to be pretty high fat choices and so that means that one tablespoon of the salad dressing will be approximately 45 calories. A couple of other ways that you can really keep that nice vegetable salad still a healthy choice in a restaurant is to order a vinaigrette, order a wine vinaigrette it has much less calories than any of the other salad dressings that you are going to have a choice of and also you can always request to have your salad dressings on the side.

    Other things that we add to salads that can really add a lot of calories are going to be things like croutons where you might think that a crouton will be pretty harmless in regards to your salad, realize that many of them are fried and that they are actually going to have lots of butter that have been added to them as well. Even if they are baked, the chances are they have been coated in butter before they are baked. So be aware that from most croutons you are really adding on anywhere from 100-200 extra calories depending upon where you are having that salad at.

    Many times when you go to a restaurant you find that they are actually going to have a bread basket on the table or also depending upon the restaurant also tortilla chip basket on the table. Be aware when you have those choices just out in front of you and so easy for you to get to, you could possibly be consuming over a 1000 calories if you were to eat an entire tortilla chip basket, that could be over a 1000 calories.

    Not only be aware of how much bread to take from your bread basket but be aware of how many other things you add to your bread. If you actually add at least one tablespoon of butter which is going to be about sure a little butter pats then you could be adding as much as a 150 calories to that roll, or if the roll by itself, one roll might not have been a bad choice. The more fat that add to it, it's just going to be really hard to keep that healthy and calorie count under control.

    When you make your menu selection at the restaurant, of course you want to include a vegetable choice. If you get a serving of your favourite veggie that you thought you are making a healthy choice with and it's actually very shiny and bright, chances are there is some added fat that it's been cooked in. So go ahead and ask your server, tell them that you don't want to have any extra added fat to your vegetable choices, whether it be carrots or green beans or whatever your favorite vegetable may be.

    Most adults like to consume a beverage with their meal and if you are consuming wine you may not be aware of how many extra calories you are actually adding. With a regular six ounce glass of wine you can be adding anywhere from a 140 to a 160 calories to your meal. With most adults we don't consume just one glass of wine at a meal so you might actually be adding as much as 300 extra calories to that dinner out tonight. So why not choose something also like a glass of water or another low calorie beverage choice as well.

    Remember, if there is another adult beverage that you like to choose with your meal that they all have calories, a rule of thumb is that for one and a half ounces of hard alcohol, then that's going to be an additional 150 calories and actually beer also adds those calories as well.

    Many restaurants both local and national chains now list on their menu what a healthy choice is. So look for those symbols that denote may be heart healthy or low cal and I am sure that when you go to your favourite restaurant you will be able to make a healthy choice.