When in situations where you don’t have nutrition labels for guidance, such as while dining out in restaurants, it can be a little tougher to determine which foods will contribute to good health and which ones won’t. Here are some hints to help weigh the good and the bad in restaurant meals:
Sure, a salad seems like a healthy choice, but if it contains a good amount of croutons and saturated fat sources, such as cheese, bacon and creamy dressing, it is no longer a stellar option. If you’re dying for a Caesar salad, order a small one as a starter and keep the dressing on the side.
An omelette – yes, even one containing the yolks – with nothing but vegetables added is a good example of the good outweighing the bad, even with the small amount of cholesterol and saturated fat found in egg yolks. The high quality protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber found in a vegetable omelette are what place this dish on the good list. Once cheese and meat are added, however, typically the omelette is no longer considered a healthy choice.
Fish or Chicken Dishes
Yes, chicken and fish are lean protein sources, but if they are served breaded or battered and fried, the bad automatically outweighs the good. Heavy, creamy or buttery sauces also turn any grilled chicken or fish dish into a member of the not-so-great club.
Before ordering any soup as a starter, ask if it contains cream. If the answer is yes, typically the bad outweighs the good. Broth-based soups are usually the healthiest options, with the exception of French Onion Soup. As we all know, French Onion Soup is scrumptious, but the massive amount of cheese and bread on top isn’t doing our bodies any favors.
It may be sugar and calorie-free, but we’re talking about a drink that is loaded with artificial colors and sweeteners. That, combined with the fact that there is zero nutritional value in diet soda, the bad outweighs the good. Obviously, there’s no need to mention regular soda at this time, right…?
While we’re on the subject of beverages, I have to bring up the two popular drinks below. I know they’re not usually found in restaurants, but I’m dying to tackle these bad boys while they’re on my mind. Thanks for listening.
Fully loaded with a massive amount of artificial colors (obviously) and cheap sweeteners, the bad outweighs the bit of good they offer with their electrolyte balancing minerals. Want a better hydrating alternative? Go for pure 100% coconut water.
Water With Vitamins In It
The name of this drink sure makes it sound healthy, but the 30 + grams of sugar added to each individual sized bottle really tips the scale to “bad” on this one, I’m afraid. Instead, fill up a reusable bottle with plain filtered water and add mint leaves and/or orange slices to make it more flavorful. Need the extra vitamins? Pop a multivitamin supplement instead.
I’d love to reiterate that the info I’ve shared in both Parts 1 and 2 of this post are meant to assist in choosing the foods you eat on a regular basis. I’m all for having a treat every once in a while – even if it has less than perfect ingredients.
What about you? Are there particular key words on restaurant menus that cause the bad to outweigh the good? Let me know in the comments!
In case you missed it! Here’s Part 1- Weigh The Good And The Bad With All Things You Eat: Grocery Store Finds