Eating Out the Healthy Way

Eating out in Half Moon Bay doesn't need to blow your diet out of the water! Use these tips to make it fun and healthy to eat out.

We all want to eat healthier and more nutritious meals and avoid eating too much fat or not enough protein.  But when we go out to dinner, our healthy habits tend to take a back seat to all of the great, but heavy, foods laid before us.  Luckily, many restaurants have began gearing their menus toward a healthier way of eating.  Finding healthy and nutritious items on the menus of our favorite restaurants is no longer difficult, especially here on the coast. Most restaurants will prepare foods the way you request and many chefs have made substitutions in their cooking to keep the taste in their dishes.

Here is a list of some of your favorite types of restaurants and what to order, what to avoid and how to order to stay in your eating plan:

Two very popular dishes when going out for Mexican food are chili rellenos and cheese enchiladas. These dishes should no longer be on your list if you want to eat healthy and not blow your eating plan. You would wind up getting more fat grams in that one meal than you should be eating all day! The main items to avoid at a Mexican Restaurant are: cheese, sour cream, avocado, flour tortillas, refried beans and the fried tortilla chips. If you know where you are going in advance, you can bring some baked chips along with you or ask the waitress for steamed corn tortillas to dip into the salsa. Most salsa is fine to eat, but avoid the chili con queso dip as an appetizer (its loaded with fat). Remember, it’s not just the fat by itself you want to avoid, it is the fat with the carbohydrates.

Here is a comparison of good choices vs. bad choices:

==============    =================
Chili con queso              Chips Salsa with corn tortillas (steamed)
Chili Rellenos                 Chicken Fajitas- use corn tortillas or
                                    1 flour tortilla (if you can’t resist) Lettuce & tomato
Refried Beans                 Black beans
Mexican rice (with lard)    Mexican Rice (if no lard is used)

Here on the Half Moon Bay Coastside, a few of our favorite Mexican restaurants where you can order these items include and .

Beyond the contrary belief, Chinese food can be very healthy if you know how to order. Of course, just like many other types of food preparations, Chinese food is prepared with quite a few types of oils; some favorite Chinese dishes are battered and fried as well. Fried rice, egg rolls and Szechwan dishes with peanuts and almonds are extremely high in fat. However, Chinese cooking also uses steamed white rice and many vegetables in their dishes, so take advantage of these items. The rice is a bit higher in simple carbs than we'd like, but in moderation it can be a great addition to a healthy meal.  Here is an example of a popular meal versus what you should try next time:

===============    =================
Egg drop soup                 Skip the soup- too high in sodium
Egg roll                            Steamed vegetable dumplings
Fried rice                          Steamed rice
Kung Pao chicken              Steamed Shrimp or chicken with sauce on the side
                                       Steamed vegetables

Our personal favorite lChinese restaurant in Half Moon Bay is .

Now, this one may be your hardest meal to avoid the fat and high carbohydrates to keep your intake in balance. Your foods to avoid at Italian restaurants are cheese, sausage, high-fat ground beef and cream sauces. The famous fettucine alfredo is loaded with fat. Remember, just ordering pasta with marinara sauce (no protein) is a very high carbohydrate meal — usually 80-100 grams in the meal. If you want to keep your carbohydrate intake low and still get satisfied, order like this:

TYPICAL MEAL                      BETTER CHOICE
==================   =================
Fettucine Alfredo                   Shrimp with angel hair pasta- marinara sauce
Garlic bread                          1 piece of bread (no garlic butter)
Salad with heavy oil dressing  Salad - green and tomatoes w/ red wine & vinegar

Our absolute favorite Italian food places on the coast are (along with it's sister eatery, the ) and .  Any of these is an absolute treat to dine at.

So as you can see, out of the three types of meals you might choose to eat when dining out in Half Moon Bay, you can still maintain your healthy eating habits and not have to “go off the plan” every time you go out to dinner. Do not let dining out be your excuse to overeat! Stay in control of your eating. You only have one body - take care of it!

To Your Health,

What are some of your favorite dishes to order when you want to eat healthy on the Half Moon Bay Coastside? Let us know in the comment section here.

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