What to choose at the "Big Three": Lowering calories, fat, and sodium intake
- Steamed dishes or those with garlic, black-bean, or wine sauce.
- Plain steamed rice, preferably brown.
- Kung-pao chicken and sweet-and-sour dishes; both are deep-fried.
- "Primavera" dishes; indicates vegetables.
- Side portions of pasta with marinara, clam, or Bolognese sauce.
- Fettucine alfredo.
- Breaded and fried dishes like chicken, egglplant, or veal parmigiana.
- Chicken or shrimp fajitas with black beans.
- Soft tacos, preferably made with corn (flour tortillas might be cooked in lard).
- Chimichangas; deep-fried.
- Crispy tortillas and chips.
- Refried beans (unless "vegetarian").
Other Tips: What You Can Do at the "Big Three"
At Chinese restaurants
- Get sauces on the side. Substitute a light sauce (garlic, black-bean, or wine sauce) for a heavy one (like duck, orange, or sweet and sour) or a very salt one (like soy).
- Choose the dishes with vegetables, not just meat.
- Ask for sour cream or cheese on the side or skip it altogether.
- Use extra salsa instead for great flavor and lower calories.
- Ask if lard is used to make their flour tortillas and refried beans.
- Slow down on the drinks and appetizers so you’re not overeating by the time your meal arrives.
At Italian restaurants
- Share an entrée with a friend or take half home.
- Ask for less oil to be used whenever possible.
- Ask your server whether the restaurant offers a special "light" menu.
- Ask if certain dishes are available for health-conscious diners.
With all three, avoid fried items, moderate portions and be aware of what you are eating. Restaurants do not have to provide nutritional information, but since health advocates have been applying more pressure for mandates to be placed on national chain restaurants, more data is becoming available. Some ethnic chains (Chevy’s Fresh Mex, The Olive Garden, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Romano’s Macaroni Grill) provide nutritional information voluntarily on their Web sites. Check out the menu ahead of time when you have a chance.
Source: www.ConsumerReportsonHealth.org, September 2006
If you have questions, contact Linda J. Hogg, RD, LN, Nutritionist at the Student Health Service at 994-4380.