Going out to eat can be fun, adventurous, relaxing and a culinary experience, but watch what you eat. Every restaurant is different, and sometimes it’s hard to know what’s in your food or how it was prepared. For instance, there are so many food additives produced in China, and the Chinese do not always list all of their ingredients, so restaurants have no way of knowing the exact ingredients. Also, many restaurants economize and buy already prepared foods – sometimes frozen - from a Costco-like store or a food distributor. There may be additional salt, fat, or sugar added to extend the food’s shelf life and make it taste extra delicious.
What’s so good about eating out today is that restaurant owners are making the dining experience more convenient, comfortable and – in some cases – more affordable than ever before. Most restaurants also offer healthy choices. Chefs have become local and national celebrities as they keep a close eye on emerging trends, use fresh, local, and sometimes exotic ingredients, and getting creative revitalizing old recipe favorites, experimenting with ethnic influences and combining flavors.
Here are some recommendations:
- When it comes to restaurants, most of them promote beverages. Try to avoid soft drinks and order sparkling water or ice tea. If you have to have a soft drink, drink it in moderation. They could present health issues for you. In the morning, have a juice, but beware that juice contains a lot of sugar.
- Forget large sizes and just eat a regular portion. When your order arrives, try cutting it in half and taking the rest home.
- If your order contains a bun, take a half off and fold your sandwich. Every little bit helps.
- Condiments are fine, but try to avoid mayo.
Special sauces are all different. Read labels or ask questions. Anything that looks dairy-based, I’d avoid. BBQ or soy sauces have no cholesterol.