Healthy eating when dining out
Unfortunately, for those with LAL-D eating fast foods is not an option – processed meats, burgers, fried chicken and fish, along with fries are all off the menu. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat out though, more you need to be a little more selective, so follow the guidelines below and enjoy your meal.
- If you know which restaurant you are going to, look at the menu in advance (most restaurant menus are available on-line) short list your options, and then speak to the restaurant if you require any changes.
- Choose the chicken or turkey (removing any skin), white fish and seafood meals, along with vegetarian options.
- If you choose rice, pasta, potato or another carbohydrate you should avoid bread.
- Always ask how the food is cooked. Any meals described as pan-fried, fried, crispy, crunchy, or sautéed should always be avoided, instead choose the grilled, poached, steamed or baked dishes.
- Request that your food be cooked without added butter, gravy, or sauces, as these can contain hidden fats, and ask that any fat free vinaigrette salad dressing, is served ‘on the side’.
- Avoid ‘buffet style’ restaurants where the food is already cooked, making your choices very restricted.
- Make a healthy swap – if a meal comes with regular fries, request baked sweet potato fries or extra steamed vegetables instead.
- Choose less elaborate desserts (fruit, yoghurt, sorbet without sugar etc.)
- Water is the main drink.
Choose Fajitas made with grilled chicken and vegetables, without sauce. Pìco de gallo is the only option that you can use.
Opt for skinless tandoori chicken and fish meals, or any other oven based, sauce free dishes. Add steamed or boiled rice and vegetables, along with a Naan bread – this is a flatbread traditionally made with flour, yeast and water and cooked in the oven.
A minestrone soup is broth based and full of nutritious vegetables and coupled with some delicious Italian bread can make a healthy meal. Check out the steam seafood and pasta recipes, often cooked in a paper bag – fat free and delicious.
Many Thai restaurants offer steamed fish dishes with tasty herbs such as ginger, lemongrass, coriander and kaffir lime. Order any sauce on the side and enjoy with steamed vegetables and rice, or boiled noodles.Tom yum soups are another option. Broth based, often with prawns or chicken and a lot of vegetables and spices, but remember to request the non-coconut version.
Japanese restaurants can also be LAL-D friendly as there are many options to choose from – steamed rice & boiled noodles, steamed and grilled fish, tofu, seaweed, and fresh, cooked, or pickled fruits and vegetables, that are all naturally low in fat. Try steamed edamame beans or miso for a starter, as these are both low-fat, yet protein rich foods. Gyoza are steamed dumplings filled with chicken, fish, vegetables or even sweet options – just remember to avoid the pork and fried varieties
Sushi is generally classed a healthy meal, containing protein and carbohydrates, however, it is usually best eaten as a snack or light lunch due to its low-calorie count In addition, when choosing your sushi remember to avoid those pieces containing salmon (high in the omega 3 fatty acids), opting instead for the vegetarian, prawn and tuna varieties.
Probably the best dessert to choose when eating out is a sorbet or fat free gelato – mango, passion fruit, lemon, raspberry or blackcurrant are great flavours, and top with fresh fruit.
Written by Cèlia Rodríguez-Borjabad a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Vascular Medicine and Metabolism Unit. University Hospital "Sant Joan". Rovira i Virgili University. IISPV. CIBERDEM. Reus (Spain)