Is Salad Really the Best Choice When Dining Out?

Hmmm. You ordered the Steak Salad for dinner when you went out last night? You assumed it was a healthier choice because its salad, right? Seared sirloin atop mixed greens, tomatoes, red onions, pecans and a Blue Cheese vinaigrette with a blue cheese crumble. Sounds healthy…but is it?

Well, think again. If you are a man trying to lose weight, this salad is 60% of your calorie needs for the whole day contributing 914 calories, the fat content of the salad is 63 grams, 21 grams more than your total daily needs, the 1543 mg sodium content of the one salad is what you can have in an entire day and the saturated fat of 18 grams is more than you should have in the entire day. There are 5 teaspoons of added sugar too. And really, the fiber contribution is only 5 grams, not much considering a man should have 38 grams in a day.

Your beverage choice matters too. A Cadillac Margarita has 500 calories and 53 grams of sugar. A pint of beer has around 220. The best choice is a glass of wine; a 4 ounce pour is about 125 calories.

Order This: Grilled Salmon, no sauce; no mashed potatoes and extra veggies, no butter.

One of the best choices you can make at a restaurant is to order plain grilled fish or chicken and vegetables. If the entree comes with potatoes ask if they can substitute more vegetables for the potatoes. In this example, grilled salmon and a double portion of asparagus would have 595 calories, 27.2 grams of fat mostly from heart healthy fat, >1,500 milligrams of Omega 3 fats, only 7.6 grams of saturated fat, 4 grams of fiber, and 1010 mg of sodium.

Try making salads at home with lots of snazzy toppings and use “healthier” salad dressings found here.

Data based on Outback Restaurant items and a man’s nutritional needs for weight loss: 1500 calories.

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Keep Your Salads Healthy

Even healthy foods can pack in a lot of extra calories and make you gain weight.

Salads particularly can be deceiving. It appears they are healthy but some can be higher calories and fat than a Big Mac.

To keep your salads healthy, resist highcalorie extras such as cheese, nuts, bacon, and full-fat dressing.

file000847168568Take a look at the nutrition content of my client’s chicken salad and whole grain roll lunch compared to a Big Mac. Her salad has more calories and more fat. All because of the dressing.

Organic Mixed Garden Greens,4 oz 20 4 0 4 70 0
Cilantro Lime Dressing, 3 tbsp 356 3 39 0 381 2
Chicken  Breast, meat only, cooked, roasted, 3 oz(s) 140 0 3 26 63 0
Beans – Black, cooked, boiled, with salt, 1 tbsp(s) 14 3 0 1 25 0
Brussel Sprouts – Oven Roasted (Sliced), 0.0 cup cooked 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sunflower seed kernels, dry roasted, without salt, 1 oz 165 7 14 5 1 1
Multi-Grain Artisan Roll, 1 roll 230 21 2 4 200 2
Chicken Salad with Roll = 925 calories 38 Carbs 58 Fat 40 Protein 740 Sodium 5


Big Mac =

530 calories 47 Carbs 27 fat 24





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Eating Out at Chinese Food Restaurants


Happy Family Entree

Chinese can be a great choice. Most Chinese dishes are full of vegetables but you can easily be misled and you need to learn how to avoid the menu choices that are loaded with calories, fat and sodium. Keep in mind that most Chinese entrees have an entire day’s allotment of sodium. So if you decide to eat Chinese for one meal, go low sodium the rest of the day.

Some High Calorie Dishes to Avoid
• Lemon Chicken contains a whopping 1,400 calories which is equivalent to the worst fast food meal.
• Deep fried items like General Tso, Crispy Orange chicken or beef, Crispy Beef, Sweet and Sour chicken or pork or Chili Beef should be avoided because the batter on the meat soaks up the fat when deep fried. These items are likely to have over 1500 calories a platter.
• Lemon Chicken has 1,400 calories.
• Fried Rice has a giant number of calories and fat; up to 1600 calories. 
• Chow Mein (with soft noodles) has 1,200 per serve.
• Eggplant in garlic sauce, with 1,000 calories and 2,000 milligrams of sodium.

Suggestions for Minimizing the Number of Calories
• Always start with a low calorie soup dish like Wonton, Hot and Sour or Egg Drop. It’s only about 100-150 calories and will fill you up so you will eat less when your main dish comes.
• Look for dishes that feature vegetables, not meat or noodles. Ask for extra vegetables.
• Order steamed rice instead of fried. Order brown rice if it is available.
• Order chicken, tofu, or seafood that is stir-fried or braised; avoid breaded, battered, or deep-fried items.
• Don't add extra salt by adding high-salt sauces to your food, such as soy sauce, duck sauce, and hoisin sauce
• Ask for your dish to be prepared with minimal oil.
• Use chopsticks or a fork (not a spoon) to get food from the serving plate. This helps keep some of the high-fat and high-sugar sauce on the serving plate.
• Avoid deep fried or even lightly fried food items.
• Watch your portion size and avoid second helpings.
• Share an entrée or ask for a box to take home half your entrée.

Some Lower Calorie Options
• Appetizer options: Spring Rolls or Steamed dumplings have about 90-125 calories each.
• Buddha’s Delight with tofu and vegetables has about 400 calories.
• Chicken with black bean sauce has about 800 calories.
• Chicken with snow peas has about 500 calories.
• Shrimp with vegetables and spicy sauce about 700 calories.
• Happy Family with chicken, scallops, shrimp and mixed vegetables has about 600 calories.

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