We love to eat out and we know that our families do, too! We really
enjoy tasty food and like experiencing new places that inspire our creativity by offering different types of ethnic cuisines. It’s also a great time to relax with friends and family without worrying about cooking – what a treat! Dining out is yet another occasion to put healthy-lifestyle tools to the test. Make your next restaurant meal fit into a healthy day of eating for the whole family.
Tips for Making Smart Choices:
- Order grilled, baked, braised, broiled, poached, roasted, steamed or stir-fried for meats and/or fish; ***Make sure that the waiter doesn’t put a slab of butter on these healthy options by declaring an allergy to butter!
- Eat less, order two appetizers or an appetizer and a salad as your meal;
- Request the bread basket be served with the meal and dip away in extra-virgin olive oil;
- Order salad dressings and other sauces on the side. Use a fork to toss the dressing throughout the salad — it’s a secret to using less!
- Choose broth-based soups typically lower in calories than cream-based soups that are also higher in fat;
- Order tomato-based pasta dishes lower in calories rather than cream-based sauces. Tomato sauce counts as a vegetable and is high in lycopene!
- Choose baked potatoes or steamed vegetables rather than French fries for your side dish;
- Refresh your palette with sorbet, fresh berries or order a yummy dessert with extra spoons to share;
- Take half of your meal home. The second half can serve as a second meal! (Two meals for the price of one: What a deal!)
- DANGER ZONE: The Kids’ Menu! If you want your child to be an adventurous eater, encourage them to order adult appetizers or share a main dish with you or a family member!
One of my favorite Appetite for Life book recipes is the Spinach Artichoke Dip.
This fabulously flavorful low-fat dip tastes amazing but it’s a slimmed down take on the popular (and very rich) appetizer that tempts many a diner! Our version is a good source of fiber for digestive health and features immune-boosting vitamin A.
1 bag (6 ounces) baby spinach leaves
1 can (15 ounces) low-sodium cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
14 ounces frozen (thawed) artichoke hearts or 1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
1 package (3 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
1 clove garlic, chopped
¼ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup shredded low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese (2 ounces)
Pita chips and/or cut-up vegetables
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In medium saucepan, heat 4 cups water to boiling over high heat. Meanwhile, prepare ice bath in large bowl; set aside.
3. When water comes to a boil, add spinach in small batches and cook 30 seconds. With slotted spoon, transfer each batch to ice bath to stop the cooking and retain vibrant green color. Squeeze as much liquid out of spinach as possible. (If you like, squeeze excess liquid into mug to drink…it’s full of nutrients!).
4. In food processor, combine spinach, beans, artichoke hearts, cream cheese, garlic, basil, and pepper. Pulse until smooth.
5. Transfer mixture to bowl and stir in ¼ cup mozzarella. Spoon into non-stick shallow baking dish; top with remaining ¼ cup mozzarella.
6. Bake 10-15 minutes or until dip is heated through and top is lightly browned and starting to bubble around edges.
7. Serve with pita chips or cut-up vegetables.
Makes 20 servings (2 tablespoons per serving).
Nutrition Facts per serving: 50 calories; 2g fat (1g sat fat, 1g mono, 0g trans fats); 5mg cholesterol; 6g carbohydrate (3g fiber, 0g sugar); 3g protein; 70mg sodium; 10% Daily Value (DV) vitamin A; 2% DV vitamin C; 4% DV calcium; 8% DV iron.
– Stacey Antine, MS, RDN, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, director, HealthBarn Foundation, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.