- When you see the words "super size" remember – that's what these foods will do to you! Avoid super-sizing anything but your determination.
- Choose side salads with low fat dressing, by far the best option at any fast food restaurant.
- Go for water, or a sugar free beverage. A regular size soda will add at least 250 calories to your meal, and who wants 250 calories of pure sugar?
- Salad bars can be a friend or an enemy. It's easy to pile on calories and empty carbs in the forms of croutons, bacon bits and cheese.
- When in doubt, check the nutritional information. It's usually available upon request, or posted near the cash registers.
Following are suggestions for some popular fast-food outlets:
- You cannot go wrong eating fish, if it's prepared correctly. Enjoy your fish broiled, baked, or grilled, but not fried. Remember – "battered" is simply another word for "covered with breading and fried".
- Try to stay away from creamy tarter sauces and melted butter. Season your fish with fresh squeezed lemon juice, or a bit of cocktail sauce.
- Shrimp and shellfish can be good choices, but watch the preparation methods. Frying anything takes the health right out of it.
- In French restaurants, the word or prefix "entr" means appetizer. Steer clear of buttery choices such as escargot, and fatty options such as pate. Instead, choose to begin with a clear consomme(a broth soup) or bouillabaisse, a fish soup. Even bouillabaisse isn't a perfect choice, but it is a lot better than most appetizer selections.
- "Plat" signifies the main course. Go for a broiled, or grilled fish, chicken, or beef choice, and watch the sauces. Avoid creamy sauces, and anything that is butter based. Filet mignon is a good protein rich choice.
- You will sometimes see the word "nouvelle", which indicates food that is prepared in the modern style. Usually this means lower fat, and smaller portions.
- A delicious salad, such as Salad Nicoise, is a great choice. Just remember to ask for your dressings on the side, and skip the cheese and excess oil.
- Coquilles St. Jacques is a very healthy choice, as the scallops are simply prepared in a wine sauce.
- Steak frite – At a French bistro, you might find steak and fries on the menu. The steak itself is not a problem, but the fries will derail your whole plan. Ask for a baked potato instead.
- Fois Gras – it may be a delicacy and it is a protein source, but fois gras, which is just fattened duck's liver, is in NO way a diet smart option.
- Stay away from barnaise sauce, which is made with egg yolks and butter.
- Wine is good – just don't overdo it. A typical 5 ounce serving contains about 100 calories.
Greek and Mediterranean
- Kabobs: skewered pieces of grilled meat, chicken or fish. Try them without the fattening Tzatziki sauce (a yogurt sauce usually made with full fat yogurt).
- A Greek salad can be rendered a healthful choice simply by minimizing the dressing and excess feta cheese.
- A gyro is a pita sandwich, usually made with ground beef or lamb. It can be a healthy choice without the yogurt sauce. As a general rule, chicken and grilled beef have less fat in them than ground meats. Tear off any excess pita bread before you eat it.
- Spanakopeta, which is a spinach pie made with feta cheese and eggs. Though spinach is a very healthful food, the cheese and greasy phyllo dough make this dish too fattening for a good meal.
- Moussaka. This eggplant dish may seem like a good choice, but the eggplant is fried and the bechamel sauce usually boosts the fat content to unmanageable proportions.
- Too much olive oil. Yes, olive oil is one of the most healthful oils. But it's still oil, so don't overdo it.
- There are few good alternatives to ice cream, because even in reduced-fat versions, when they reduce the fat they generally add more sugar. Try to stick to fresh fruit if you want a sweet end to your meal. Freezing a banana, some strawberries, or melon balls can give you the same icy cold, satisfying sensation as ice cream.
- However, if you are simply dying for a frozen treat, stick with fat free sherbets or sorbet. Keep your portion size small (about half a cup is what the nutritional label will describe.) Try to find them sugar-free (artificially sweetened).
- Seek out ice cream and other frozen sweets made with no sugar. They're out there. If you can find one that also controls its fat content, you're home free. But it's not easy. Ice cream just isn't a healthful food... that's the way it is. (Actually, it's not a real, natural food at all... you will not find ice cream growing on a tree, or walking around in a field.)
- Smoothies seem healthful, especially with all the fresh fruit and vitamin boosts that you can get these days. If you read the nutritional information that is usually available, though, you will see that these treats are quite surprisingly high in calories, and loaded with sugar. Move on.
- The usual suspects found at the toppings counter will derail any attempt to lose weight. Sprinkles, chocolate chips, and other candy bits are all just sugar in different shapes. If you must add something, add crushed nuts because at least that is a natural food.