To illustrate my point, let's consider this meal: vegetarian lasagna, a side salad with Caesar dressing, and a small order of broccoli with brown butter and mizithra cheese. It sounds like a meal full of veggies and that is healthy, right?
Let's take a closer look:
Ack. This meal contains almost enough calories for an entire day and a terrifying amount of fat, sodium, and cholesterol. My stomach hurts just thinking about eating all of that!
So what is a better alternative? First, consider what is in or on top of the entree that you order. Here are some things to look for:
- Dishes that contain cheese, cream sauce, butter, or fatty meats (e.g. sausage, bacon, ground beef) are likely to be a high in fat and calories.
- Opt for lighter sauces such as marinara and grilled vs. fried foods.
- Don't be fooled by salad; it is only a healthy option if it isn't smothered in dressing or topped with meats, cheeses, or deep-fried croutons.
- If there are sauces or dressings that you love and really don't want to pass on, order those on the side so that you can control your portion.
Here is what I ordered on Friday night (this is for the portion of pasta that I ate- it was very large and I only ate half):
- Choose an entree that isn't smothered in high-fat ingredients.
- Surround that entree with side dishes that are high in fiber and low in calories in fat (e.g. plain veggies or salad with the dressing on the side) and eat those first so that you aren't tempted to devour an entire restaurant-size entree.
- Put yourself in control of your serving size and enjoy the richer foods in moderation.