Dieting While Dining Out - Diet Detective

dieting while dining outDining out can very easily make or break your healthy eating plan, so watch out! Remember you never know what fat laden items are added to specific dishes, so make sure and always ask when ordering any dish. The main concern is usually the butter issue. Many restaurants seem to add it to every dish because it makes the food taste so much better.

I recently ordered my traditional Salmon with vegetables from Outback Steakhouse and was amazed what I found out. Traditionally, they pack the butter on the veggies, so I told them to "hold the butter". When the meal came out, I took a bite of the salmon and it tasted really bad. I asked the waitress if there was anything wrong with it and she pointed out that I asked them to hold the butter. I was talking about the veggies! I didn't know they added a ton of butter to the salmon also! Man, here I thought I was always ordering a very healthy meal and it turns out that I was being sabotaged with a extremely high calorie dish. Make sure to always ask if they add butter to anything, because 9 times out of 10, they will! It turns out that Outback also prepares its steak (as well as Chicken or Shrimp on the Barbie) with butter. I have included the healthiest choices when dining out at Outback Steakhouse below.

BREAD & BUTTER
Man, the bread is amazing at most restaurants! This is a serious temptation for dieters since they come in to eat a healthy meal but are faced with this massive bread basket which is almost jammed down your throat the second you sit down! Your best option is to have the bread removed from the table. Instead, ask for a plate of veggies to snack on or a dinner salad (no cheese, croutons) with the dressing on the side.

Below is the dieting disaster bread can have your well-laid dieting plans:

French bread (four slices):
384 calories
4g fat
72g carb

Garlic bread (four slices):
545 calories
21g fat
75g carbs

Butter (two pats):
72 calories
8g fat
0g carbs

APPETIZERS
Watch out for these! They can be a diet disaster. One major disaster are those batter-dipped, deep-fried onions, such as Outback's Bloomin' Onion. It has about 1,700 calories and 116 grams of fat! Wow, that is a motherload of calories. Time to bring out the cot for a nice nap after that gluttoned feast!

But there are other items to be wary of as well. A great rule of thumb is to avoid anything fried, creamy or served with a sauce. Look for the words "broiled" or "steamed." If you're not sure how it's prepared, make sure to ask.

Some of the healthy choices to try are:

  • oysters on the half shell (only about 10 calories per oyster),

  • shrimp cocktail (about 22 calories per shrimp, including the sauce)

  • a broth-based (not cream-based) soup.

To avoid salad sabotage, ask for the dressing on the side and always dip your fork lightly in the dressing before digging into each bite. This will drastically reduce your dressing consumption. Always avoid high-calorie salad add-ons like cheese and croutons.

THE STEAK
While beef is high in saturated (unhealthy) fat, it's tasty as well as a good source of protein, iron and other nutrients. Make sure to ask the waiter to have it prepared without any butter! Below are the breakdown of several steak choices:

  • Prime Rib: Most restaurants serve this in about one pound portions, which adds up to as many as 1,350 to 1,400 calories with more than a day's worth of saturated fat (up to 45 grams).

  • Rib Eye: The rib eye is not much better. A 16-ounce rib eye contains about 1,100 calories and more than 20 grams of saturated fat.

  • T-Bone and Porterhouse: Many restaurants serve their T-bone or porterhouse steaks at over a pound (about 20 ounces) which brings the calorie count to more than 1,200 with 25 grams of saturated fat.

  • New York Strip: An 18-ounce New York strip steak (top loin) contains about 1,050 calories and more than 30 grams of saturated fat.

  • Sirloin and Filet: Your best bet would be a sirloin steak (about 700 calories for 12 ounces), which is one of the leanest cuts (lowest in fat) you can order. Or you can go with the filet mignon, which is smaller -- typically nine ounces and about 450 calories, with approximately nine grams of saturated fat.

Other Tips:

  • Avoid the Sauces. Especially bearnaise or hollandaise sauce. Only two tablespoons have about 140 calories! Your best bet is to go for the au jus.

  • Better Choices. Think to yourself if the prime rib really tastes way better than the sirloin or the filet. This small change can save you hundreds of calories!

The government recommends a three-ounce portion of beef, not 20 ounces! A great way to make sure you have the correct portion size is by using the "deck of cards" rule. The correct portion size should be about the size of a deck of cards. Yes, I know it seems small but its also relative to the size of the palm of your hand. If it the portion is larger than these two examples, you're probably over indulging! Here are a few more tips:

  • Trim the Fat. Make sure to trim off any visible fat, which can save as much 25 percent of the calories. This is very important when eating fatty cuts like prime rib, porterhouse and T-bone.

  • Order Shrimp or Chicken. Barbecued chicken or shrimp usually are the healthiest items on the menu, especially if you can get the sauce on the side and they're not cooked in butter.

THE SIDES
Make sure to know the key sides which can cause serious damage. They can add up to anywhere from 250 to 800 calories. These include:

  • creamed spinach (about 300 calories per cup)

  • mashed potatoes (200 calories per cup)

  • french fries (600 calories for a large order)

  • vegetables sauteed in butter or oil. Always order your vegetables steamed with steak seasoning added for flavor.

DESSERTS
You know what to do here, just say no! You will be very limited in the dessert area, but you may have a healthy out. Ask for a cup of fresh fruit with no added sugar or toppings. This should cure your sweet tooth. You can also ask for some after dinner coffee which is a great choice.

 

Healthy Outback Steakhouse Dining Choices

APPETIZERS

  • Grilled Shrimp on the Barbie - Order without butter but with cocktail or BBQ sauce

SALADS & SIDES

  • Dressings: Tangy Tomato Dressing (fat free), Vinegar, Fresh Lemon or Olive Oil & Red Wine Vinegar

  • House Salad - Order without cheese and croutons

  • Steamed vegetables - Order without seasoned butter

  • Sweet Potato - Order without toppings

ENTREES

  • Shrimp and Veggie Griller
    Prepare without butter or glaze during preparation. Order without Rice or Pineapple. Order a House Salad as above

  • Chicken and Veggie Griller
    Prepare without butter or glaze during preparation. Order without Rice or Pineapple. Order a House Salad as above

  • Steak and Veggie Griller
    Prepare without butter or glaze during preparation. Order without Rice or Pineapple. Order a House Salad as above

  • Victoria’s Filet
    Order with House Salad as above Jacket or Sweet Potato
    Steamed Vegetables without butter. Prepare without butter

  • Outback Special
    Order with House Salad as above. Order Jacket or Sweet Potato
    Steamed Vegetables without butter. Prepare without butter

  • Outback Rack
    Order with House Salad as above. Order Jacket or Sweet Potato
    Steamed Vegetables without butter. Ask for no sauce during preparation

  • Chicken on the Barbie
    Order with House Salad as above. Order Jacket or Sweet Potato
    Steamed Vegetables without butter. Order without butter
    BBQ sauce may be used during preparation

  • Botany Fish of the Day
    Order prepared without butter. Order with cocktail sauce or fresh lemon instead of Remoulade Sauce

  • Salmon
    Order prepared without butter or seasoning
    Order with cocktail sauce or fresh lemon instead of Remoulade Sauce

  • Jackaroo Chops
    Order with House Salad as above. Order Jacket Potato and Steamed Vegetables (instead of apples). Ask for no butter during preparation.

  • Barbie Chook ‘n Bacon
    Order prepared without butter or BBQ sauce
    Order without the bacon and cheese
    Substitute baked potato or steamed vegetables

  • Sweet Chook O’Mine
    Order prepared without butter
    Order without the bacon and cheese
    Substitute baked potato or steamed vegetables

 

CHARLES STUART PLATKIN is a nutrition and public health advocate and founder of DietDetective.com. Copyright 2009 by Charles Stuart Platkin. All rights reserved. Sign up for the free Diet Detective newsletter at www.DietDetective.com

 

 

 

 

 

 



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