In a previous survey study, chefs also admitted that they ladle up serving sizes that are two to four times the size of recommended servings!
Where does this leave us? Well, it is unlikely that restaurant food will ever be uniformly ‘safe’ to eat from a dieters’ point of view, regardless of how many reduced calorie options show up at your favorite spot. The definition of ‘reduced calorie’ or ‘reduced fat’ remains somewhat nebulous, and remember that low fat dishes often replace the missing fat with sugar, which can bring the calorie count right back up to equal or exceed the high fat version! The best thing to do when eating out, is to bring the following principles with you:
- Cut your portions in half. Ask your waiter to bring half your meal in a take away container before it even hits your plate.
- Do look for options labelled as ‘reduced calorie’ or ‘low fat’ on the menu, as they are probably better options – but cut your portion in half as well. Ask your waitress what changes were made in the dish to make it healthier.
- Opt for the dishes heavy in fresh greens, such as salads. Get your dressing on the side!
- Give the menu back to the waiter as soon as you have ordered, to avoid the temptation to order dessert!
- Choose restaurants that specialize in fresh food – this can be anything from sushi to Subway! It is harder to hide calories (eg cooking oils, sauces) in food that is fresh.
Gone are the days where we should say “Never trust a skinny chef!”