I love and hate going out to dinner. On the one hand, I love the atmosphere and sharing food with friends but on the other hand, I know that meals out can be unhealthy. Living in NYC doesn’t make it any easier. It is tempting to go out to dinner any given night of the week. One of the biggest challenges my clients face is how to make wise choices when dining out. It can all be overwhelming really and the smells and flavors can get the best of you, especially if you arrive hungry!
Last night, I met a group of ladies with whom I volunteer in the New York Junior League, for dinner in my neighborhood at Bread Tribeca. The menu consists mostly of Italian inspired dishes like pasta, pizza and bruschetta but much to my surprise they also had a “cleanse menu” which is part of the restaurant’s cleanse program, a week long eating plan that uses fresh, allergen-free, whole foods and juices to rid the body of toxins.
Some of the items on the menu include Arugula and Avocado Salad with shaved fennel, orange segments and lemon oil, Quinoa Salad with cucumbers, red onions, shredded carrots, pine nuts and green goddess dressing and Tomtao Tartare: tomatoes and mango with almond milk and multi-seed crackers. I was also pleased to see there was a gluten free pasta dish on the regular menu. For more on gluten sensitivity, read my article in the NYC Examiner here.
I opted for the No Carb Lasagne which consisted of zucchini, dairy-free pesto, pignoli cheese and sun-dried tomato sauce. The meal was surprisingly tasty and satisfying which I didn’t expect from a restaurant that doesn’t specialize in this type of food.
So what do you do when you’re out to dinner and not so fortunate as to have a cleanse menu available? Here are some tips I give my clients:
- Skip the bread basket
- Start with a green salad
- Read the menu as a list of ingredients rather than a list of meal options
- Ask for fish or chicken grilled with a side of olive oil and lemon
- Look for sides of green veggies
- Entrees are usually large, don’t be afraid to take half home or order an appetizer and a side instead
What are some of your favorite healthy eating tips for restaurants?
I wish every restaurant would have a cleanse menu. We are certainly making progress with all of the new farm to table restaurants cropping up all over the country so hopefully the day will come soon enough!