Haute Restaurant Choices

Plain and simple, diets stink and that is why I do not believe in them. I believe in the choice of a healthy lifestyle, which is not that trying of an obstacle to overcome, but it requires changes and smart decisions.  The only way to truly stay healthy and keep weight off is to change your life by eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, taking your vitamins, getting plenty of sleep and daily exercise. Taking some miracle pill is not the answer because once you stop taking it, the lbs. will find a way back onto your body, because you haven’t changed your habits.

Earlier in the week, I began writing my weekly blog entry and was listening to the Dr. Oz Show when I overheard the topic for the day and felt compelled to share some of the helpful restaurant secrets that he addressed. Dining out and healthy choices can be a difficult task. Going to a restaurant and choosing carrot sticks and celery is absurd. I am truly a fan of Dr. Oz because he is realistic with his goals. Not everyone can be fit like Jillian Michaels, an NBA star like Kobe Bryant, or a supermodel like Gisele, but we can be more pragmatic in becoming more physically fit. Here are Dr Oz’s suggestions of what to order, and what to never order at a few restaurants, with my two cents:

Chinese: Crispy Chow Mein v. Kung Pao Chicken

If you guessed the chicken you might want to think again. The Kung Pao Chicken contains about 1,600 calories and 75 grams of fat, which is the same size serving as one burger and two orders of French fries. The Crispy Chow Mein contains about 700 calories and 10 grams of fat. The reason for this is because the chicken is fried and contains a dense sauce with peanuts. Before placing your order in a Chinese Restaurant always look at the ingredients and the way the food is prepared. My suggestion is to first order steamed veggies that way you do not over indulge on a high caloric dish.

Mexican: Chicken Fajita v. Chicken Burrito

If you order the Chicken Fajita you are correct because it weighs in at about 500 calories and 11 grams of fat. The chicken burrito has around 1500 calories and a whopping 68 grams of fat. Burritos are fat for a reason, they are stuffed full of ingredients that are out of your control. On the other hand, you control what is inside a fajita and what you stuff it with. Remember that the meat and vegetables are the main ingredients, and that cheese and sour cream are garnishes to give a bit of flavor. Empty calories that can get a lot of people are the chips and salsa. Skip them.

Italian: Ravioli v. Chicken and Shrimp Carbonera

By now I am hoping you have got it down. You read the ingredients and you can see that the Ravioli is the best choice. Even though it contains simple carbohydrates it only has 670 calories and 30 grams of fat. Although, the chicken and shrimp carbonera is loaded with protein it has 1400 calories and 88 grams of fat. The reason for this choice is because of the sauces. The Ravioli is made with marinara sauce (tomatoes) and the carbonera is full of oil, butter, eggs and bacon. When you are ordering at an Italian Restaurant the best choice is to always ask how they prepared their meat, too. Some chefs will fry their meatballs, so you may think you are getting a smart choice of spaghetti and meatballs, but you may be fooled. Also, try and skip that bread that they put on the table.

With the decrease in cooking at home and the increase in a busier lifestyle it is hard to go out and make good choices when ordering at your favorite restaurant. Always remember to read the ingredients carefully and ask questions. There can be hidden agendas in some of the dishes that do not look so dangerous. The smaller the plate does not always mean the healthier the plate. Filling up with a salad is a great way to avoid over eating, but remember to choose your dressing carefully. I always eat mine with olive oil and red wine or balsamic vinegar. The next time you sit down to dinner, I hope you remember this article. Until next time my friends, visit www.raylenebartolacci.com. To health and wellness, Salute.