All Posts In Dining Out

20+ Healthy Foods to Pack When You Travel

by in Dining Out, July 22, 2013

whole-grain crackers
Hitting the road this summer? Whether traveling by car or plane you can still make healthy choices.

By Car
By the time you turn the corner, everyone in the car is begging for food. The last thing you want to do is bring a never-ending supply of junk. Instead, pack a few good-for-you mess-free meals and snacks. To keep things fresh, bring a cooler (the traditional kind or one that plugs into the car).

Meals:

  • Whole-grain pasta salad or quinoa salad
  • Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread
  • Hard-boiled egg and cheese in a whole-wheat pita

Snacks:

  • Sliced fresh fruit like melon and berries
  • Snack bar
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cheese and whole-grain crackers

If you end up having to hit the quick mart anyway, look for the smarter choices:

  • Whole-grain pretzels
  • Hummus cups
  • Coffee or tea (nothing fancy)
  • Fresh or dried fruit
  • Small bowl of oatmeal

Read more

The Healthiest Restaurant Mexican Food Options

by in Dining Out, June 11, 2013

steak taco
If you think a night out at a Mexican restaurant will sabotage your healthy eating plan, think again! With a little knowledge and planning, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Chipotle Mexican Grill
After playing around with their nutrition calculator, I found the most balanced option was a salad with lettuce, 1 serving of steak, black beans, green tomatilla salsa and fajita veggies.

Nutrition Info: Calories: 355; Total Fat: 8 grams; Saturated Fat: 2 grams; Protein: 40 grams; Carbohydrates: 34 grams; Sodium: 975 milligrams

If you’re in the mood for a taco, choose the soft corn tortilla and one protein (chicken, steak, barbacoa, or carnitas) and top with veggies (lettuce and fajita veggies) and your favorite salsa. This will give you a nutritious meal for around 400 calories.

Check out more healthy Chipotle options.

Read more

Hot Trend: Artisan Cocktails

by in Dining Out, May 16, 2013

cocktail
Rum and coke is a thing of the past. Instead, you’ll find bars offering up a menu of exotic cocktails created from high-quality booze and fresh ingredients. I had the opportunity to speak with the bar manager Sarah Boisjoli from Beauty and Essex — one of the trendiest bars in New York City, known for their high superb cocktail menu — about hot cocktail trends you’ll see this year.

Q. The term “mixologist” is now being used instead of “bartender.” Is there a difference between the two?

There is a difference. A mixologist develops the recipes while the bartender mixes and serves them. In order to develop a cocktail, we work as a team and put much thought and time into perfecting it using the freshest and highest quality ingredients.

Q. What are some of the infusions that you offer on your cocktail menu?

Many of our drinks are creating by infusing flavors. For example in the Sapphire Seventy-Five Bombay Sapphire is infused with blueberry-brown sugar and in the La Miel we infuse a local Brooklyn gin with vanilla.

Q. How can folks at home infuse their own cocktails?
A great combo is Woodford bourbon infused with cinnamon. Put cinnamon sticks into the bourbon and let it hang out for a few days or weeks (the longer it hangs out, the stronger the flavor). Strain it out and you have delicious cinnamon-infused bourbon.

Read more

Order This, Not That: Five Guys

by in Dining Out, March 7, 2013

5 Guys Burger
This chain has been popping up all everywhere — there are over 1,000 locations nationwide. Find out what you should order when you stop by this booming burger and fry joint.

ORDER: Simple and “Little”

It’s tough to navigate this predominately high-calorie and high-sodium menu if you’re trying to stick to a healthy eating plan but it is possible.

If you’re itching for the Five Guys famous burger, the Bunless Little Hamburger is your best bet with 220 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 50 milligrams of sodium. Ask for veggie toppings like mushrooms, green peppers, onions, jalapeno, lettuce and tomatoes for between 3 to 10 calories each per serving.

If you’re more of a hot dog fan, the Bunless Hot Dog weighs in at 285 calories, 26 grams of fat and 800 milligrams sodium. Again, add veggies to add bulk to your meal with minimal calories.

Looking for a meatless dish? The Veggie Sandwich has 440 calories, 15 grams fat, and 1040 mg sodium.

Read more

Low-Calorie Fast-Food Menu Items

by in Dining Out, February 12, 2013

chicken sandwich
You’re stuck on the road, or didn’t have a chance to eat and end up in some fast-food joint that’s all too conveniently placed in your neighborhood. What should you choose? Your best line of defense is to be prepared. I checked out popular fast-food restaurants and found options that can fit any calorie requirements; whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a sensibly-sized meal, I’ve got you covered.

Meals
A reasonable lunch or dinner has about 400 or 500 calories, depending on your overall calorie needs.

500 Calories

Read more

The Most Extreme Restaurant Meals in America

by in Dining Out, Food News, January 16, 2013

restaurant menu
The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) just released the “winners” of its annual Xtreme Eating Award, which tracks the calorie, saturated fat, sodium and sugar content of meals served at chain restaurants across the US. Amongst such expected “dis-honorees” as double-bacon cheeseburgers (that’s the 1,770-calorie Bacon Cheddar Double at Johnny Rocket’s) and heavy, sugar-laden chocolate cake (the Chocolate Zuccotto Cake at Maggiano’s Little Italy, which has over 1,800 calories) were some unexpectedly healthy-sounding foods. Who would have thought that a large Peanut Power Plus Grape smoothie from Smoothie King would weigh in at 1,460 calories – three-quarters of the generally recommended 2,000 daily calories? The smoothie also contains 22 teaspoons of added sugar  — enough for three and a half days! Could you have guessed that The Cheesecake Factory’s seemingly nutritious Bistro Shrimp Pasta – with its shrimp and fresh arugula, tomato, and mushrooms – would in fact have the highest calorie count (3,120 calories!) of any entrée on the menu?  The 89 grams of saturated fat in the pasta is four and a half times the recommended daily maximum of 20 grams.

With options like this out there, it would be easy to inadvertently sabotage your New Year’s resolutions by picking such virtuous-sounding dishes. Make sure you check the calorie count, as well at the fat, sodium, and added sugar content, of food that you consume while out; also, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on portion size. Or even better, make restaurant-style meals at home so you control the ingredients and thus the fat, calories and portion size.

Check out the full list of CSPI’s annual “winners.”

Surviving Football Sunday: Bars and Restaurants

by in Dining Out, November 4, 2012

 football
If you’re like me, Sunday football is a must-do activity during the fall and early winter. While rooting for your favorite team won’t cost you any calories, some football festivities have major penalties, especially when the game heads out to restaurants and bars.

Piling Up
Spending the afternoon at a local bar and grill can get you into more trouble than you might think. Let’s crunch the numbers…

Let’s say you meet up with friends to watch a couple of games. You arrive around 1pm and plan on leaving by 6pm, in time to make it home for the night game.

Let’s assume you consume 2 beers an hour, plus munch on chicken wings (5 pieces), some nachos (1/4 order), plus a cheeseburger (no fries, you’re being “good”).

Hold on to your helmet! That comes out to 3150 calories in 5 hours. That’s over 150% of the calories most folks need in an entire day. Eat like this for 16 regular season weeks and you’ll tackle over 50,000 calories (14.5 pounds), and that’s not counting the Super Bowl party!

Read more

5 Scary High-Calorie Menu Items

by in Dining Out, October 29, 2012

restaurant menu
Like many of you, I check the nutrition facts on menus when I’m out to eat. Every so often I come across such high-calorie menu items that it makes me shake in my boots! Check out these 5 menu items with frighteningly high calorie counts plus see which restaurant wins our scariest calorie award.

#1: IHop: Country Fried Steak & Eggs with Sausage Gravy
Nutrition Info: 1650 calories; 45 grams total fat; 14 grams saturated fat

This breakfast combo includes 8 ounces of fried beef steak smothered in sausage gravy, two eggs, hash browns and two buttermilk pancakes. Order this and you’ll eat almost all your recommended daily calories before your day has begun. I love steak and eggs, but there’s a healthier way to serve them up.

#2: California Pizza Kitchen: Pesto Cream Penne with Chicken and Shrimp
Nutrition Info: 1620 calories; 105 grams total fat; 58 grams saturated fat

This dish has chicken, shrimp and pasta drenched in freshly made basil pesto cream sauce. Although the freshly made cream sauce sounds appetizing, drowning food in cream sauces racks up the calories and hides the flavor of all the other foods.

Read more

Ordering Food Online Might Mean Consuming More Calories

by in Dining Out, Food News, October 18, 2012

pizza on a computer screen
Ordering food online is as easy as a click of a button. Plus you avoid the long lines and there’s no human interaction. But a recent study found that ordering your meals online isn’t so good for your waistline.

The Study
A 2012 study by Ryan McDevitt, an assistant professor at the University of Rochester’s Simon Graduate School of Business, examined the patterns of people who ordered food by phone or at the counter from a franchised pizza establishment compared with those who ordered online. They looked at over 160,000 orders made by over 56,000 unique customers over 4 years. The most notable differences between those who ordered online compared to those who ordered over the phone or in person included:

  • Customers ordering online spent $0.61 more (4%), on average, though they ordered fewer items. The increase in cost was due to increased toppings.
  • The items ordered online were 15% more complex and had 6.1% more calories.

Read more

The Healthiest Options at Frozen Yogurt Chains

by in Dining Out, August 25, 2012

frozen yogurt
It seems like fro-yo joints are popping up on every corner – there are 3 in my neighborhood! While cold and creamy soft-serve yogurt is a delicious concoction, it’s not automatically health food. Wherever you happen to order up frozen yogurt, keep the portions modest (order the smallest size) and the toppings minimal. We scanned popular menus for the healthiest offerings. Here are our top picks for sensible, yet tasty treats.

TCBY
Choose protein-packed Greek Honey Vanilla or 90-calorie Classic Tart topped with bananas, cherries or chocolate sprinkles.

Pinkberry
Fun and lower calorie options include Green Tea, Coconut or Watermelon. Top a small portion off with toasted almonds, dark chocolate crisps or kiwi.

Read more