There are many great Restaurant Substitutions, that you can choose and still eat healthy while going out to eat.
Different restaurant cuisine choices, are available on almost every street corner in our cities. Many of us are unfamiliar with different cultures, and how they prepare their foods. What are healthy diet habits for each culture? Here are my choices:
American Cuisine Choices .....
- Non cream soups
- Salads with low-fat, non-creamy dressings and no crunchies, put dressing on the side
- Lean meats, and avoid those that are fried, sautéed, breaded or in a cream sauce
- Whole grain side dishes or whole grain rolls or skip the bread basket
- Watch the portion size by ordering an appetizer, or lunch size meal, or take home half of your meal and portion it before you begin eating. (Avoid temptation)
- Substitute vegetables or fresh fruits for your side dishes
- Ask for your food to be cooked with light oil
Italian Cuisine Choices .....
- Bean and soups with veggies and pasta are great, choose non creamy ones
- Pastas with plain red sauces rather than Alfredo types that are cream based
- Avoid grain dishes that are loaded with cheese
- Avoid garlic bread, because usually the pieces are 4 to 5 servings
- Eat salads with low fat dressings and veggies and hold the cheese on the salad
- Order thin crust pizzas with little cheese and loaded with vegetables
- Always take half of your portion home, because servings are usually huge
- Bread dipped in olive oil is better than butter
- Avoid any entrée that has fried meat included and rich sauces, calorie laden
- Be careful as Italian food is very caloric
Mexican Cuisine Choices .....
- Vegetarian dishes, Bean and rice dishes, soft tacos, and Fajitas are great choices
- Salads, Bean soups, Chili, are great choices
- Be careful of choices with deep fried tortillas, like chimichangas, and lots of cheese
- Be aware of the never ending fried, hot, fresh, yummy tortilla chips (my trigger food) or skip it altogether (tears)
- Soft tortillas that are not fried are a great choice especially corn ones that are smaller than flour tortillas
- Ask for less cheese on your dishes, and you can almost always find light sour cream
- Add salads and lots of fresh salsa to your meal
- Limit guacamole, and choose salsa
- No giant margaritas or sangria. They are too caloric to pair with caloric foods.
Asian Cuisine Choices .....
- Choose rice and noodle dishes that are full of vegetables
- Choose brown rice when available, and watch out for huge portions
- Avoid fried, breaded meats, or sweet and sour dishes
- Choose fish, seafood, tofu and chicken that are not fried
- Broth based soups are a great choice
- Avoid fried noodles and crispy ones
- Request your food to be cooked with light oil
Japanese Cuisine Choices .....
- Sushi, California or Vegetable rolls are great choices
- Fish and seafood dishes are great
- Rice dishes with lots of vegetables that are not fried
- If the servings are huge, take half of your meal home
Indian Cuisine Choices ......
- Grain dishes with vegetables, lentils, and garbanzo beans are great
- Salads loaded with vegetables and topped with yogurt sauces are great
- Tandoori meats or the leanest ones are good
- Avoid the choices made with cream rather than yogurt
- Go easy on the Naans, and avoid the fried breads and appetizers
- Take home half of your meal, if there are large servings
Middle East / Greek / Mediterranean Cuisine Choices (My Favorite!) .....
- All bean and lentil soups are great choices
- Fish dishes are great
- Hummus and whole grain pitas are great choices
- Rice and Couscous dishes with lots of vegetables are great. Look for whole wheat couscous and brown rice
- Grilled meats
- Watch your portion sizes, as many times you are given tons of food.
- Try amazing chopped salads and couscous salads and any of the vegetable salads. Most are very healthy because they are not made with the creamy salad dressings.
Be adventurous and try new foods from other cultures. This is a great Lifestyle Solution. Mediterranean foods, Indian foods, and Vietnamese foods, are loaded with vegetables and beans and delicious. They are very spicy and tastier then American foods! There is more to life than American, Mexican, or Italian foods and hopefully this Restaurant Substitutions list will help you with healthy food choices!