You plan on carefully selecting your entrée and sticking to your weight loss program, but there are hidden pitfalls you might not even be aware of when you dine out.
Many restaurants finish off the entrée, whether steak, chicken, or pork, with a pat of butter. It melts before it reaches your table but leaves a rich taste and glossy finish. Canola oil, or other vegetable oil, is often spread on grilled entrees before they’re grilled and then again afterwards. The oil keeps the meat from sticking to the grill and adds a sheen to the meat before serving. In either case you’re getting unwanted calories and in the case of butter, a fat that isn’t good for you.
Marinades and rubs sometimes contain sugar or honey as a seasoning and browning ingredient. The amount of sugar can be as much as a tablespoon. If you’re on a low carb diet that sugar/honey can ruin your day.
Steamed vegetables can get a brushing of butter before they’re plated, just enough for flavoring but not so you’d notice the melted butter on the plate.
Salt is a primary ingredient in seasonings and over used in restaurants.
If you must have bread, ask for olive oil rather than butter. Dip the bread in the olive oil. You’ll consume less and olive oil is a good fat, where butter isn’t.
Don’t have mixed drinks as a pre dinner cocktail. Unless the mixer is plain soda water it will add calories you don’t need. Have a glass of white wine. Or even better have a white wine spritzer made with unsweetened soda water.
Be aware of cheese, it’s calorie dense, and has a high fat content. Cheese shows up in more places than you might realize. It’s used as a garnish on meats, vegetables, and of course, salads.
Cream sauces are not a dieter’s friend. If the sauce is based on dairy cream, it will be high calorie and have a high fat content. If it’s based on a sauce thickened with flour, it will most likely have a high fat content as well. Most flour based sauces use a ratio of one tablespoon of flour to one tablespoon of fat to one cup of liquid. Do you really want that tablespoon of fat?
Be aware that portions in restaurants are about double the normal portion size. That 16 ounce porterhouse steak is enough for three people, not just you. A serving of garlic mashed potatoes is about a ½ cup not the mound served in most restaurants. The good news is that restaurants also over do the salad and vegetable serving size. And while you’re having that salad, keep in mind, two tablespoons is the portion for the dressing, not the gravy boat usually served.
Be aware of hidden fat and calories in restaurant meals and you stay on track with your weight loss program.