Restaurant Fake Outs Can Mean Excess Calories and Fat

Posted 01/22/2013 | By HealthCorps

Here are some food traps in your local restaurant hangouts that appear to be smart selections, but may be anything but healthy or light:

You’re dipping in olive oil instead of taking a very small pat of butter – Yes, olive oil is a much healthier fat, but if you are mopping up large amounts with bread, you are consuming lots of unnecessary calories.  If you can’t control your portions, one slim pat of butter on one small slice of bread may actually be better.

Just because the plate is small doesn’t mean it’s low calorie– a lot of people are starting to order appetizers and salad as a dinner choice, assuming that smaller appetizers must be lighter in calories.  That’s not always true, especially with some of the tapas and Mexican cheesy selections or creamy sushi choices in many restaurants.  A grilled piece of fish or skinless grilled chicken breast and steamed vegetables wins hands down.

You don’t see obvious creamy ingredients so you assume it’s low fat and lower calorie – Many chefs excel at adding ingredients without you being able to easily identify these tastes.  Fats, sugar and salt can be easily hidden in a recipe, so ask the waiter to find out just what is lurking in that delicious dish.

All veggies are not created equal – Veggies can be sautéed in fat, steamed and then tossed in oil, or seasoned with high salt condiments.  Unless it’s steamed and naked, you need to ask how they were prepared.  And corn, peas and potatoes are considered like “breads and grains” because they are dense and starchy.

Salads can be high calorie dishes – if they are tossed in dressing, filled with nuts, seeds or croutons, or topped with cheese, that vegetable dish is now a calorie bomb.  Ask for dressing on the side and use a teaspoon to drizzle and be aware of all the ingredients in the salad before it comes to the table.

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