Table-side service is popular
Going to a restaurant shouldn’t be your excuse to eat unhealthy foods. Follow these tips and not only will you enjoy your meal more, you’ll feel satisfied and happy when you’re done.
Restaurants offering “table side” service, where food is prepared at the diners’ table, continue to grow in numbers and popularity. But like fast-food outlets, these dining establishments can be ticking time bombs when it comes to nutritional health. Government surveys find that the food you typically eat when you’re not home is nutritionally worse in every way than the food you eat at home.
But healthier options do exist on their menus – if you know how to look for them. You can also rely on these tips to help making eating out a healthier treat.
Ask for it your way
Dining out is no time to be a meek consumer, notes Dr Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and co-author of the book Restaurant Confidential. “You need to be an assertive consumer by asking for changes on the menu,” he says. For instance, if an item is fried, ask for it grilled. If it comes with French fries, ask for a side of veggies instead. Ask for a smaller portion of the meat and a larger portion of the salad; for salad instead of coleslaw; baked potato instead of fried. “Just assume you can have the food prepared the way you want it,” says Dr Jacobson. “Very often, the restaurant will cooperate.”
Ask to “triple the vegetables, please”
Often a side of vegetables in a restaurant is really like garnish – a carrot and a forkful of squash. When ordering, ask for three or four times the normal serving of veggies, and offer to pay extra. “I’ve never been charged,” says dietitian Dr Jeff Novick. “And I’ve never been disappointed. I get full.”