Monday, January 31, 2011
Resturant Guide to Success
Here is a summary of my Weight Watchers meeting January 18, 2011.
The Restaurant Survival Guide
Article By: Duane Swierczynski
Use these insider tips to be a finer — and wiser — diner.
If you eat in a restaurant 4.2 times a week you are officially an average American. And you've spotted one big reason why the average American is overweight. Restaurant portions tend to be oversized. It's also hard to monitor the ingredients and means of preparation, which often means high fat and calories. Armed with the following info, however, you can stay in control of what you eat — even if it's out.
It’s French for “loaded with calories.” These words are hints that a dish contains plenty of PointsPlus™ values.
• au fromage
• au gratin
• au lait
• cream of
• just like mom’s
Avoid unlucky number 7
Open the menu, and trace a large, imaginary "7" with your finger from edge to edge. Research shows that the average customer's eyes follow this path first upon opening a menu, says Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab in Ithaca, New York and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (Bantam, 2006). You'll usually find the items that yield the highest profit (food cost vs. menu price) along the 7 line. The better values will tend to be nearer the left-middle and lower-right corners of the menu.
Hold the butter
Must raid the bread basket? Use olive oil, not butter. A University of Illinois study of 340 patrons in an Italian restaurant found that those diners who dipped their bread in olive oil ate an average 23 percent less bread than the butter users, and reported feeling full sooner. They escaped the bread basket with 50 fewer calories overall; olive-oil users ate an average of 264 calories in bread and oil, while butter spreaders consumed 319.
Nix the prix fixe
Ordering the three-course prix-fixe is just another way of super-sizing, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, a nutritionist in New York and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. The addition of an appetizer and dessert adds PointsPlus™ values and is harder to resist—after all, you've paid for them.
Salads are supposed to be good-for-you choices, right? Here are some things you need to know if you want to go green:
It tastes great because it's loaded with bacon, dressing, egg yolks and blue cheese. At 11 PointsPlusvalues in a 3-cup serving (and that's without the dressing!), you might as well go for the steak.
Expect to find around 8-10 PointsPlus values in just a quarter cup of the caesar dressing alone — before the croutons or any other special extras. If they offer a low-fat caesar dressing on the side, order that with a plain salad.
There could be 1,000 calories in that festive bowl of cold cuts, says Taub-Dix. Depending on the types and quantity of meats and cheeses the restaurant uses, it could vary from 2 PointsPlusvalues per cup to five times that with dressing.
Adding Asian crispy noodles or croutons to your salad? Depending on where you're eating, they can add 2 PointsPlusvalues to your salad — and sometimes more.
Don't pour it on
When possible, order salad dressings and sauces on the side. Dip your fork in, instead of pouring it on, and you'll consume far less without noticing much of a difference in flavor.
Stick with a classic; get the shrimp cocktail for 4 PointsPlus values. (A quarter cup of cocktail sauce = 2 PointsPlus values; 4 ounces of large shrimp is 2.)
Surf and turf redefined
Steamed fish and grilled chicken breast are the champs of sea and land, at 3 and 4 PointsPlus values respectively for a 4-ounce portion. But be careful: "'Grilled' can mean it was 'grilled' in frying pan with oil," says Taub-Dix. Ask for it "grilled dry."
Roasted chicken surprise
"Very often I have seen chefs lift the skin and put butter or oil under the skin," says Taub-Dix. Chefs also put butter on steak to give it glaze. Ask them to refrain when you order.
Cut your entrée in half and put it aside in a doggy bag. What's left on your plate will probably still be larger than a "standard" portion size.
Make it a spud light
A plain baked potato has 5 to 6 PointsPlus values, depending on size. The wad of butter or sour cream it cries out for has twice that. Squeeze a lemon wedge or spoon salsa onto that tuber instead.
If you and your loved one traditionally close a restaurant meal with a shared dessert, go for the sorbet.