10 Hidden Restaurant Saboteurs

You might not give these things a second thought, but they can take a toll on your health and contribute to your waistline

Do you know what you’re eating when you eat out? Probably not entirely. Chefs design dishes to have the maximum taste impact. They want you to leave saying that was the best meal you’ve ever had and then return soon. They're not so worried about your health or your waistline. How do they get their food to taste so good? Mainly, two things: fat and salt.

Chain restaurants are required to post calorie content. Some numbers are shocking and I’m not talking about the no-brainers that you expect to be high, but rather the entrées that seem a moderately good choice at first glance. Ruby Tuesday’s chicken and broccoli pasta is 1,564 calories, and has 3,187 mg of sodium (keep in mind that most adults should be shooting for 2,000 calories and 2,300 mg of sodium per day). Romano’s Macaroni Grill has a crusted sole at 1,120 calories and 870 mg of sodium. Chili’s "Quesadilla Explosion" salad has 1,400 calories and 2,320 mg of sodium. 

But all is not lost. Here's how to read between the lines to order lighter whether you're out at a chain or eating haute cuisine:

• Beware things noted as crispy, creamy, escalloped, in gravy, pan-fried, tempura, confit, or au gratin.

• Minimize high-fat meats: sausage, cured meats, pork, duck, and red meat.

• If ordering steak, T-bone and sirloin steaks are among the leanest cuts.

• Choose grilled, steamed, poached, or broiled.

• Fish and seafood are generally good choices. Even if there are extra calories in the preparation, at least fish comes with a serving of healthy omega-3 fats.

• Substitute veggies for French fries. Even finished with butter, vegetables are still way healthier.

• When you go for fast food or a big chain, most likely it’s for convenience, not a world-class meal. Make an effort to order lightly. The calorie counts will be posted and available online, so you really have no excuse.

• Get your meal to order: Ask for sauce and dressing on the side, no extra butter, etc.

• If you want to indulge a little, share something with the table.

• When out for a special occasion (if more than once a week you may want to redefine “special”), you don’t need to feel like a scene out of When Harry Met Sally. If you want to eat the meal as the chef intended, sauce right on top and lots of butter, then it’s all about portion size.

• Assume you are taking half of your meal home before it even arrives. When you see the plate, make a mental line down the middle and know that the rest of it is tomorrow's lunch.

• Try an appetizer and a side dish as your meal, like soup, shrimp cocktail, or mussels, and a side of vegetables.

Following are ten things to look out for when eating out that will sabotage your health, and efforts to keep you caloire intake low.

Click for 10 Hidden Restaurant Saboteurs Slideshow.

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No way am I ordering 'veggie fries' instead of regular french fries.
And btw.......I don't need any 'excuse' for not counting calories--or for not ordering low-fat and 'healthy'--when I go out to eat somewhere!


Nothing in excess.


This list is ridiculous... Veggies "even finished in butter" are "way healthier" than french fries? You do realize that some vegetables are high in sugars and carbs and are just as bad as french fries, right? I like a natural french fry more than a side of sweet corn or buttered peas. If done crispy and in a high heat, there is very little oil retention.

T-bone is not a lean cut of beef, a filet is.

Also, pork loin and pork tenderloin are VERY lean cuts of meat. "pork" is no more fatty than "beef". The difference is in the cuts.


Pork is no longer a high-fat meat, at least in this country.


As the other posters said, rib eye is extremely fatty. There are however, many lean cuts of beef. Red meat is not the all evil either. This article sounds more like how to be a pain at a restaurant then how to eat well. Studies found that people use more salad dressing etc, if they have them on the side then if they are tossed in.


Olive oil is VERY good for you! This article needs a quick edit.


Most of the article sounds like good advice except for the ribeye being lean. I wish!!


Nice. Ribeye = lean meat.

I'm gonna go ahead and ignore that and everything else in this piece. Mkay?


ribeye is one of the fattiest cuts.....filet is the leanest...


And olive Oil is good for you !!


ribeye ? Ever been in a kitchen ???


I believe you have a typo in your steak recommendation. Ribeye is one of the fattest steaks. I assume this should have been NY Strip or Filet.

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