Making healthy choices when eating out can be difficult but with a little thought and planning ahead you can maintain your goals!

Chinese restaurants offer a wide variety of broth-based soups, stir-fried specialties (with seafood, tofu, vegetables, and lean meat), steamed fish and vegetable dishes, steamed rice, hot mustard sauce, chow mein, and other menu items that you are free to enjoy for low-fat, low-calorie, choices. Dishes to avoid include anything fried, for example, spring rolls and fried wontons, most dishes that include duck, egg foo yung, and fried crisp-skin chicken. Fried rice should be replaced by steamed rice. The all-you-can-eat buffet should always be avoided.

Most Japanese food is healthy and low fat. Sushi and sashimi, nori rolls, udon noodles in broth, yakitori, and all suitable healthy meals. Just avoid anything fried like tempura.

Thai food is another low-fat and healthy choice. Their hot and spicy soups are satisfying and extremely low in fat. Thai stir-fries are another excellent choice. Avoid dishes that are simmered in coconut — delicious but high in fat.

Indian cuisine offers a number of delicious and healthy, low-fat choices. Chicken, fish, veggies, steamed rice, and dhal are included in a healthy menu. Bean soups are delicious and healthy. You can opt for chapatti or roti if you want a bread substitute although you should avoid fried naan bread. Generally, Indian and Thai cuisines are a healthy dining option when you are watching what you eat.

Many of the most fattening dishes are found in Italian restaurants. Fried mozzarella sticks, lasagna, any pasta dish with a cream-based sauce like Alfredo or carbonara, and many more have a high-fat content and should be avoided. However, you will also find many healthy dishes that will make your mouth water. Thin crust pizza with vegetable toppings, pasta with tomato-based sauces, chicken cacciatore, chicken Marsala, and biscotti are a few items that will keep you at the Italian table without having to give up your commitment to cut calories and watch your fat intake. Salads and soup choices are also something to consider but order your salad without dressing. Avoid most desserts in Italian restaurants — many are cream-based and very rich.

Mexican cuisine need not be avoided just you just because you are choosing to slim your waistline and count calories. Black bean soup, grilled chicken or shrimp dishes, chicken soft tacos, chicken or shrimp fajitas, salsa, and chicken quesadillas are all good healthy choices. You are probably aware of the foods to avoid here: nachos, refried beans, enchiladas, and fried choices such as chimichangas.

Dining out offers many opportunities to try new cuisines and most menus offer healthy food choices. Put some thought into what you order and you won’t need to limit your dining-out experiences!

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