Ever wish that the food police would raid all restaurants just before you arrive to hunt down excess sauce and gravy, cart off fried foods and lock up sinful deserts?
Wish the calorie cops would empty the cupboards of evil temptation and clean up calorie crimes?
It is difficult to avoid calorie crimes when you are eating out. Menus camoflauge calories and conceal hidden fats. Chefs, in cahoots with waiters, seem to be hit men, ready to riddle your body with fat. All too soon, you too are doing time (at the gym) as an accomplice to the crime.
You can beat back the bad guys and avoid unwanted bulges, with a few tactical manuevers.
First, round up the usual suspects - fried foods, sauces, gravies, butter, cream, oil, and other fats.
Then, pick offenders from the menu line up. Names like bearnaise, bechamel, hollandaise, veloute, milanesa, al burro, con crema are tip-offs for high fat offenders.
Tell the waiter "leave out the fats, man, just the fats"
Send a message to the chef - do it your way - poach, saute, bake, broil, or grill - or its curtains.
Be street smart. Keep alert against special offers by gangs of diet busters - "all-you-can-eat" and "blue-plate-specials." They usually spell double trouble. Don't take something for nothing - "free desert with your dinner." And watch out for bait and switch offers - "come in for our half-priced special." These are rarely diet bargains!
And remember, no matter what kind of neighborhood you are in, you can beat the cons. Just follow these rules when ordering your meals:
Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese
- Best choice: clear soup, garlicky broccoli with chicken and cashews over steamed rice, pickled salad
- steamed rice is filling and low in calories. Plan to eat 1 1/2 - 2 cups of rice
- top rice with vegetable sauteed with small amounts of chicken, fish, pork or beef
- broth-based clear soups fill you up, not out
deep-fried foods such as fried rice or noodles, egg rolls, pot stickers, tempura, or sweet-and-sour are all high in fat and calories - avoid these
- Best choice: anti pasto, italian bread sticks, chicken cacciatore (don't eat the skin) over pasta, tossed salad
- pastas, raviolis, and tortellini with red sauces (marinara), wine or clam sauce are light and low in calories
- have the anti pasto (usually pickled cauliflower, peppers and other vegetables) for an appetizer
cream or cheese sauces are high in calories - avoid these
most meat sauces and toppings are high in calories - especially those made with sausage, pepperoni or bacon - light on these
- Best choice: baba ganouj, pita, orange/olive salad, shish kebab (skewered roasted meat & vegetables)
- low calorie appetizers include tabouli (seasoned cracked wheat) and the popular dips, hummous (garbanzo and tahini) and baba ganouj (eggplant)
- pita (pocket bread) is low in calories
- couscous (the rice of the Middle East) is fat free and fiber filled
- use lots of plain non-fat yogurt as a topping