- The Indian menu contains many different types of breads. If you must sample one, choose the naan, or chapatti, which are made without butter. But it is better to avoid the extra carbs by foregoing the bread altogether
- Pullao is basmati rice. It usually accompanies the main dish, and it is usually a good option for a low calorie side dish. Just make sure to match it with a protein source.
- The tandoor is the traditional Indian oven, so anything called "tandoori" is simply baked within the oven. Very healthful, just watch for any creamy sauces.
- Dal is a wonderful vegetarian meal, consisting of lentils, onions and spices. Full of protein and fiber. Yum!
- A watchword for dieter's dining Indian style is "ghee", which is clarified butter. This is used in many Indian recipes, and you can significantly cut down your portion of saturated fat if you know to tell your server to use no ghee, or as little as possible.
- Poori or paratha are a no-no! They are deep fried, butter drenched breads.
- Samosas are another deep fried no-no. These are deep fried pastries filled with meat and/or vegetables.
- A Mango Lassi may seem healthy, as it is similar to a smoothie, but it is generally made with full fat yogurt and lots of sugar. Avoid.
- Mulligatawny is a cream-based soup, with lots of fat.
- Tandoori chicken, Benghan Bartha (eggplant), cauliflower dishes, peas... all these are usually good choices.
Using your common sense will keep you out of trouble in Italian eateries. You already know that you need to avoid the deep-fried mozzarella sticks and buttery garlic bread. Begin with a salad, dressing on the side (or simply ask for the oil and vinegar cruet, and use mostly the vinegar) and a cup of broth-based soup, such as minestrone or bean soup. Calamari is a good choice, as long as it is steamed or lightly sauteed instead of fried.
- Look for simply prepared cuts of chicken, fish, or beef prepared in a wine or broth sauce. For example, primavera, pomodoro, cacciotore, marsala, or marinara dishes.
- Stay away from the word "baked" when applied to pasta: in other situations this term normally means something that is prepared healthfully, but not in an Italian restaurant. "Baked" pasta (as in baked ziti or baked lasagna) means pasta stuffed with one kind of cheese, and baked underneath a layer of another kind of cheese. Few things will derail your weight loss efforts faster.
- Besides, what is pasta anyway? Nothing but empty-calorie white flour, typically surrounded by fatty sauces and other junk. Eat some real food instead.
- Order meals that consist of real food – chicken, beef, veal, etc. Minimize the pasta, the oils and the cheeses. Maximize the veggies.
- Oops... the pastries are a no no! Stay away from anything described with mascarpone, or sweet ricotta – they are high-fat cheeses.
- Granita (a shaved ice flavored with mocha or fruit) or sorbets are not great, but acceptable.
- Fresh fruit is by far your best dessert choice. Enjoy espresso with your fruit, if you wish.
- Watchwords in Italian restaurants include:
- Fritto – This just means fried.
- Alfredo – the famous cheese based cream sauce.
- Carbonara – with heavy cream, eggs, butter, and bacon, this dish is simply too rich.
- Bolognese – made with meat and cream.
- Parmigiana – this describes a cut of meat or eggplant dipped in breading, fried, and smothered with mozzarella cheese. Uh oh.
Japanese food is some of the healthiest restaurant food you can get. The Japanese use lots of healthful, fiber-rich vegetables, and very little oil in most dishes. Some advice, though...
- Stay away from tempura! Tempura simply means deep fried, with tons of carb rich batter.
- Dumplings are available in steamed varieties as well as fried. Ask for the Shumai if dumplings are on your mind.
- Many Japanese restaurants start you off with miso soup and a dish of mixed greens with a carrot or ginger dressing. Both of these are great, just watch the portion of dressing if it's greasy.
- A very great Japanese salad is seaweed salad.
- Many Japanese restaurants offer udon, or stir fried noodles. Japanese noodles are as empty-calorie, and empty-carb laden as Italian spaghetti or any other kind of flour-based product, so eat sparingly, and add a significant protein source, such as shrimp, fish, or chicken. Soba noodles are made with whole wheat flour, which is a somewhat better choice.
- When ordering sushi, try to stay away from the rice covered rolls. Sushi in general is a great food, but you can get a lot of rice without really realizing it when each roll is covered with it. Sashimi is sushi served without rice, and it is definitely your best bet. You can eat practically limitless amounts of sashimi.
- Teriyaki fish, chicken, or beef can be a low fat, filling meal. Watch the added oil, though.
- Yakimono is a term that means broiled. Good choice.
- The first thing you will need to do is send back the chips that will land on your table almost immediately. The salsa can stay – salsa is a health enthusiast’s best friend! But the chips will only sink any weight loss plan. If you must munch, ask for a couple of soft corn tortillas, and eat pieces of corn tortilla with the salsa. If they have baked chips, that's ok.
- For appetizers, try a delicious soup, such as black bean or gazpacho, if they offer it. Gazpacho is an excellent cold diced veggie soup. With the black bean soup, tell them no chips or tortilla strips, and no sour cream on top. Ceviche is also a great choice. It is merely raw fish marinated with citrus juice.
- Salads can be great diet fare, but watch out for anything called taco salad – they serve it in a fried shell that is nothing more than a huge deep-fried corn chip! Also be on the lookout for excessive cheese in salads, or sour cream. Always ask for your dressing on the side, so you can control it.
- For entrees, stick with soft tacos instead of the fried hard shell kind. Soft chicken, beef, or veggie tacos are kind to the waistline.
- When given the choice of corn or flour tortillas, always go for corn, as they are made with about a third of the fat of flour tortillas.
- Arroz con pollo is a simple chicken and rice dish. Try going heavy on the pollo (chicken) and lighter on the arroz (rice)!
- Burritos don't have to be a diet torpedo. Simply ask for a chicken or beef burrito with lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa, and you are doing fine. Peel off any excess wrap.
- When looking for tamales, make sure that they are the steamed variety. Get them filled with chicken or beef for some extra protein. Watch the oil content – some of them are fine, but some are swimming in oil.
- Mole pollo – chicken served with a mole (unsweetened chocolate – it's surprisingly delicious) sauce, can be a good choice.
- Anything served "veracruz" style is simply cooked in a tomato sauce.
- Camarones, meaning shrimp, can be a good choice as well.
- Avoid all of the following: sour cream, shredded cheese, nachos, quesadillas, refried beans (ask for black beans or pinto beans instead). You may enjoy the guacamole, in reasonable quantities.
At The Movies
Eating at the movies can be tricky – those concession stands aren't famous for offering healthful options. The first thing you need to do is remember to eat before going! If you can avoid eating at the movies at all, you have done yourself a HUGE favor. Come on..... it's just two hours! If eating at the movies is inevitable, though, here are some coping strategies:
- We all know that you are not supposed to bring your own food. However, if you're in the mood to smuggle, try bringing the following snacks in a small Ziploc bag: air popped popcorn from home, nuts with no added oil, baked chips, soy chips, soy nuts, or seeds. Any of these is a lot better than anything you will be able to purchase from the snack counter.
- Most concession areas at this point offer bottled water instead of soda. This alone will save you hundreds of calories, and keep you hydrated. Or get a diet drink.
- Movie theatre popcorn is prepared with hydrogenated oils and "butter flavoring", making it an extremely poor choice, even if you tell them to "hold the butter." If you must order the popcorn, get the child’s size, and hold all butter. Then share the bag. But really... just avoid it!
- Red Vines, Tootsie Rolls, licorice, Gummi Bears, and Jujubes may be fat-free, but they're all loaded with sugar! It's all total junk food, so for heaven's sake, control yourself!
- You may think that the very idea of eating pizza in a diet-friendly way is impossible, but it is. You just have to apply the same BioSlim smarts you’ve been using for every other kind of food.
- When ordering in a group, it is probably a better idea to get your own personal pizza, made your way, than to expect everyone around you to eat the way you want to eat. Think of the admiring looks that you'll receive when you prove how serious you are about your health and fitness goals.
- When ordering, specify that you want your pizza with little or no cheese.
- Order pizza with a thin crust, rather than regular or (heaven forbid) deep dish.
- Load up on the veggie toppings. They will give you needed nutrients, and help you fill up, so you eat fewer slices.
- Avoid processed meats, such as sausage, pepperoni, and salami. Ask if the restaurant makes its own meatballs. If they do, and they do not use too much oil in the process, order a side of meatballs to "beef up" your protein portion.
- When your pizza arrives, as for a box immediately. Decide how much you are going to eat on the spot (and remember, even though it is called a personal pizza, there's still more food there than you need) and put the rest away immediately. Looking at food lingering on your plate tends to give you the false impression that you are still hungry.
- Like with most restaurants, the salad bar can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. It is all in the decisions that you make.
- First of all, note that the darker the greens, the higher the nutritional value.
- Avoid the salad that has been mixed up for you. Instead, do the work yourself. Only then will you be certain of exactly what you are eating.
- Avoid the croutons and bacon bits – they only add unnecessary carbs and calories.
- Avoid the creamy, mayo-laden pasta salads.
- Marinated veggies could be soaking in healthy vinegar, OR soaking up oil. Be careful.
- Always watch the amount of dressing you are using. Avoid the creamy dressings. Moderation is the key to everything. The very best salad dressing is vinegar, whether balsamic or apple cider, with a touch of olive oil (if any).
- Another tip for eating salad dressing – instead of pouring it on top of your salad, dip the tines of your fork in the dressing, then spear your bite. You'll get the flavor of the dressing without using as much as when you cover every leaf.
Unfortunately, sporting events can be tough. We can't just advise you to "go without" like we do at the movies, as most sport events take such a long time that you will probably eventually get hungry. The very best idea is to bring your own food. If you are allowed to bring in a cooler, than simply stock it with bottled water, fresh fruit, prepared veggies, deli slices (lean turkey, chicken, roast beef, or soy slices) mustard, greens in a Tupperware container (for salad and to put some on your sandwich), etc. If you care to, include some low calorie beer in there too. Or, if you can, bring a small hibachi, and you can grill your own hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie patties, or chicken. Remember, the best idea is to remain completely in control by preparing your own items. You’ll not only be the better for it nutritionally, and you’ll save so much money, you could practically buy an extra ticket to the event!
If you cannot bring your own food, here are some suggestions:
- A small hot dog – NOT a foot long – has about 250 calories, including mustard. The best idea is to stop at one, but if you are very hungry, have an additional hot dog without the bun instead of the deep-fried side foods like onion rings or fries.
- The smallest soda at a concession stand will have at least 250 calories. Choose bottled water, or a diet soda instead.
- Soft pretzels have about 200 calories in them, unless they are super sized. Avoidance is best. Also absolutely avoid any nachos – one serving can have over 700 calories of pure junk food.
Steakhouses are quite friendly to the BioSlim system. However, there are some facts you need to know to get the most (nutrition, not fat!) out of your meal.
- Always ask your server how the steak is prepared. Some steakhouses use butter in their cooking process. Ask for no added butter or oils.
- Avoid anything described as fried or sauteed.
- Most steakhouses give huge portions! Share food with a friend.
- Do not eat the bread that they initially give you. It's just useless, empty-calorie carbohydrates.
- A fresh fish selection, such as poached salmon, is a great choice. Ask for it grilled, broiled, poached, or baked.
- Steamed or broiled lobster is a healthful choice, so long as you have them keep the drawn butter in the kitchen, not on your plate! Use a squeeze of lemon, or a bit of cocktail sauce to season.
- "Stuffed" means nothing more than extra calories. Don't let them stuff.
- For appetizers, choose a small side salad, shrimp cocktail, Manhattan clam chowder (the red kind, steer clear of the New England creamy white kind).
- Many steakhouses offer melon as an appetizer. Good idea!
- When ordering your meat, try to steer clear of the fattiest cuts. Go for anything that ends in "loin" or "round".
- When ordering chicken, get the baked, grilled, or broiled kind, without excessive sauces. Rotisserie chicken is also good. Remember that white meat chicken has about half the fat of dark meat. Avoid the skin, and don't let them add cheese.
- Order fish fillets and steaks that are baked, broiled, grilled, or likewise prepared without added fats. Avoid the stuffed kinds of fish, as well as anything covered with melted cheese, or breaded or fried. Use your fresh lemon to spice things up.
- For your side dish, go for steamed veggies, or a baked potato. Instead of the butter, sour cream, or cheddar cheese that usually accompanies this dish, opt for flavoring your potato with barbeque sauce, salsa, ketchup, or a fat free salad dressing.
- Vietnamese food can be very healthful, due to the stir frying which typically uses very little oil. Fish and seafood are mainly used, with meats being little more than condiments.
- For an appetizer, choose a clear broth, such as Pho bo, with vegetables.
- A salad with the dressing on the side is a great starter. Many Vietnamese salads include fish or shrimp.
- Try any stir fry with fish, chicken, or meat. Make sure to let the cook know that you want as little oil used as possible.
- A Vietnamese curry is an excellent choice.
- Some restaurants serve a flavorful marinated fish or meat wrapped in rice paper or a lettuce leaf. These are often served with a fish sauce for dipping. Good idea.
- Don't overload on noodles and rice. They're just empty calories.