How to eat healthier at cuisine restaurants

If you follow a few of these health-boosting tips, you can have a pleasant cuisine meal while keeping your health goals firmly in sight.

How to eat healthier at cuisine restaurants

There are thousands of restaurants in Canada today, and the number and variety of cuisines continues to grow. As we eat out more often, many of us would like to know how to order healthier meals. Here's some advice on healthy eating at some of the more popular cuisines.

For healthier

  • Order fewer dishes than people at the table. Chinese dishes are designed for sharing, not for one person.
  • Avoid fried noodles. If they're on the table, ask the waiter to take them away.
  • Start with soup to fill you up.
  • Avoid fried starters. No egg rolls. Have steamed dumplings.
  • Ask for steamed brown rice, not fried and eat twice as much rice as main dish.
  • Skip anything crispy, golden-brown or sweet-and-sour. They're deep-fried.
  • Order at least one vegetarian starter.
  • Ask for sauce on the side so you use less.
  • Eat with chopsticks. You'll get less sauce that way.

For healthier Italian dining

  • Split and share an order of pasta, especially if you also have a salad.
  • Dine on pasta, not pizza. Linguini vongole (clams with marinara sauce) is a good choice. Increase the health benefits by ordering a side of veggies or spinach and mixing it with any pasta.
  • Pick tomato-based sauces — marinara, Bolognese, red clam — and avoid cream-based sauce like alfredo.
  • Ask for a dish of olive oil and plain bread for dipping; skip the garlic bread.
  • Go with fagioli – Italian for "beans."
  • Another dangerous word is frito — fried. Look for alla griglia — grilled.
  • Order antipasto with chickpeas, olives, kidney beans, lettuce, tomatoes and less cheeses and meats.

For healthier pub food dining

  • Fish and chips are not a great choice, but if you can't resist, remove the batter and just eat the fish.
  • Avoid anything with pastry. Shepherds pie or casseroles are better choices.

For healthier Mexican dining

  • Skip fried tortilla chips. Instead, ask for soft tortillas to scoop up healthy salsa.
  • Order bean burritos instead of beef or cheese.
  • Choose fajitas. You can fill up on the vegetables and choose how much cheese to add.
  • Ask for black or pinto beans not refried.
  • Avoid sour cream.
  • Go for soft tacos which are baked, not fried.

For healthier Indian dining

  • Skip the starters — most are fried.
  • Avoid the chapati, naan, kulcha or roti breads. They've all been fried or soaked in fat. Better bet: poppadums made from lentil flour. They may be baked, but check first as some are deep-fried.
  • Order side dishes with vegetables, beans or peas, such as dhal or chutney.
  • Look for the healthy dishes: chicken masala, shrimp bhuna, fish vindaloo and tandoori (baked) options. Avoid dishes made with ghee (clarified butter) or malai (a thick cream).
  • Ask what kind of oil is used in cooking. Most often, it's coconut, which is nearly all saturated fat. If that's the case, ask if they can use canola oil for you.
  • Avoid dishes containing coconut — a hidden source of fat and calories.
  • Choose a vegetarian main course.
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