We all know that eating out can be a healthy eating and weight loss trap. It’s no secret that a big Mac and a side of fries and a coke are not healthy options, but why are some of the more seemingly harmless entrees just as bad for us? Here are a few things that restaurants do that can really pack on the calories to what appears to be a relatively healthy alternative compared to a burger and fries.
- Oil and or butter – restaurants use it in and on everything, and I mean everything. Why? Two reasons, it taste good. Very few people are going to disagree that a little bit of butter taste good and a little bit more taste better, am I wrong? The other reason is for smell/aroma. Restaurants will add a drizzle of olive oil to a pasta dish before taking it out to the customer to help enhance the aroma. I can’t say that I blame them for either of these reasons. They are in the business of making money, and if their food taste and smells good, they are more likely going to make more money…but my waste line doesn’t need a little extra olive oil on my spaghetti nor does it need added butter on my garlic bread.
- Salt – I can almost promise you that a restaurant is going to use way more salt when they prepare a meal than you would at home. The last thing that a restaurants wants to do is serve an under seasoned entree. Now, I am not against salt. I don’t have a medical condition preventing me from enjoying a little bit of salt in my diet…but I know that my cooking contains way less salt than a restaurant alternative.
- Sauces, condiments, dressings, toppings – have you ever wondered why a sweet potato at a steak house taste like a decadent dessert, and the ones you make at home are never that sweet? It all boils down to the toppings. The restaurant will start with butter and salt as a topping and then add brown sugar, marshmallows, and then maybe a little bit of cinnamon…no wonder it tastes like a dessert.
…so what does all of this mean? Never go out to eat again, because you will never find anything healthy…of course not! It simply is meant to be a reminder to be vigilant with your restaurant choices, or be aware that you are indulging for the evening. I personally like to request no added butter or oil (especially on my meat), and then ask for all of the toppings, sauces, condiments, etc on the side. I have never been to a restaurant that hasn’t been accommodating of these simple requests.
What do you do to make healthy choices when eating out?