Dieting is hard enough at home but how do you know what to choose when you eat out? Restaurant calories are hard to determine if the restaurant doesn’t publish the nutritional information on their menus.
Some of the more popular restaurants publish the information on their websites. If you do a little research ahead of time you can become familiar with the menu items that will do you the least of amount of harm.
It’s really surprising what’s lurking behind the choices on many restaurant menus. You can believe that you’re making the most sensible choice possible but once you see the nutritional info you can be totally shocked at how bad your choices may be!
(There’s a great book out, Eat This, Not That, that I highly recommend. It gives you tons of great information on sensible food choices. You will be totally amazed when you see some of the comparisons of what you should and should not eat!)
For instance, at one local restaurant a choice of a cranberry pecan chicken salad (with grilled chicken) can set you back a whopping 1277 calories, 23 grams of saturated fat and 3,008 mg of sodium! If you’re like me, I thought cranberries, pecans and grilled chicken were smart choices!
At another famous chain restaurant one of the grilled chicken dishes offers up more than 1200 calories, whereas the house sirloin comes out at only 310 calories.
Who would think you could do better ordering a chili cheese dog compared to a grilled chicken sandwich?
At a well-known chain it’s better to choose a belgian waffle than a whole grain and nut stack of pancakes. And if you think ordering a “spinach and mushroom” omelette (sounds healthy, right?) is good you would be taking in over 1200 calories! That’s almost a whole day’s worth of calories!
Which would you think would be the better choice — a sirloin steak or a avocod0 turkey burger? The turkey burger comes in at 1130 calories and 68 grams of fat. Shocking, isn’t it?
I was appalled to find out that one of my favorite entrees at a local chain restaurant was a shocking 1050 calories! And I thought I was making a fairly intelligent choice — not!
Unfortunately many of the top restaurants still refuse to give up the nutritional information of their menu items. But if you do your homework you can find out things like who is and who isn’t using trans fat in their fryers.
Don’t be taken in be some of the names they use on the menu to trick you into thinking the item is healthy. In reality some of the everyday items are lower in calories, fat and sodium than these wrongly named “healthy” dishes. Wheat bread is not always the healthiest choice — unless you’re sure it’s 100% whole grain.
Try to go for simple choices, grilled or roasted meat with vegetables as a side and stay away from heavy sauces, dressings, mayo and the like. Of course we all aren’t likely to be “good” all the time! (Grab yourself a copy of “Eat This, Not That” and you’ll still be able to splurge sensibly.)
And it’s not just restaurant calories you have to wary of. You’ll even learn some neat tricks for buying at the supermarket as well. When you make even the smallest tweaks to your buying habits you can save more than calories than you realize. Over an entire year that can add up to pounds lost, or not ever gained!
I now look at restaurant menus with a lot more scrutiny. Hopefully by educating yourself you’ll be that much more equipped to maintain your diet. Don’t let eating out totally sabotage your diet plan. Eating out and being able to survive in the “real world” is vital to achieving your weight loss goals.
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