What Nutritionists Order at Restaurants

Even nutritionists enjoy dining out — but that doesn't mean they order recklessly. We asked the experts about their favorite cuisine and what they like to order on their night off cooking duty.
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The Nutritionists' Guide to Eating Out

Dining out can be one of the biggest barriers to keeping in line with a healthy eating plan. But nutritionists dine out too. Find out how nutritionists who love to dine out stick to their healthy regimen.

 

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Mexican

"Depending on what I'm in the mood for, I tend to go for either grilled fish tacos or shrimp fajitas. Either way, I make sure to have a side of black beans and some avocado or guacamole to amp up the fiber and healthy fats. Both options allow for portion control, and since fajitas come build-your-own style, it's easy to take leftovers home for a quick lunch the next day. Oh! And extra-hot salsa is a must!"

— Tina Gowin Carlucci, RDN, owner of Gowin Nutrition, www.gowinnutrition.com

 

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Seafood

"When I dine out, seafood is tops on my list. Fish is low in heart-unhealthy, saturated fat, and research suggests that consuming two fish meals weekly may help increase longevity. My favorite is lobster. A 1-pound steamed lobster will yield only about 3 ounces of meat, so the portion size is perfect. Also, you have to work to crack open the lobster to get to your dinner, so it slows down your eating. It's worth the price."

— Joan Salge Blake, EdD, RDN, Clinical Associate Professor at Boston University and author of Nutrition & You

 

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Spanish Tapas

"I love tapas because the plates are 'Toby' portioned, so I don't have to go rolling home. However, too many small plates can also add up. My rule of thumb is to order about two small plates per person (nothing fried) so everyone can share. If my table needs more food, I can always order more, plus tapas service is usually pretty quick."

—Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D., Healthy Eats contributor and author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More than 130 delicious, healthy recipes for every meal of the day

 

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Thai

"When I eat Thai and crave an appetizer, I usually choose fresh spring rolls because they're an easy and fresh way to get some extra veggies. For a main course, I love pad thai. I always ask for double vegetables and add a protein like chicken, and [I] usually end up either taking half home or at least leaving half the noodles because portions can be large."

— Lindsay Livingston, R.D. of The Lean Green Bean

 

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Steakhouse

"My go-to steakhouse order is as follows: one extra-dry vodka martini with olives, mixed green salad (I ask for it chopped, which allows me to use less salad dressing), 14-ounce filet mignon split with my husband (if I have no one to share with, then I order the smallest size available and try not to finish it), half a baked potato (split again with my husband and topped with one tablespoon of sour cream, one pat butter and mustard) and broccoli sauteed with garlic and oil. Mustard adds a lot of flavor to my potato, enabling me to use less butter and sour cream. I am so satisfied with this meal that it is never a problem passing on dessert, even when the chocolate cake is staring me in the face."

— Keri Gans, RDN, author of The Small Change Diet

 

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Tex-Mex

"Here in Texas it's all about Tex-Mex food, which typically comes with a lot of fat, carbohydrates and overall calories. But I love the flavors of a well-equipped fish taco dish loaded with colorful and fresh cilantro, pico de gallo, sliced avocado and purple cabbage. When done right, this dish is bursting with so many flavors that I do not miss the more traditional, unhealthier entrees like enchiladas or nachos. This choice also allows me to hit my quota of more fish and less meat as recommended by the latest U.S. Dietary Guidelines."

— Angela Lemond, RDN, CSP, L.D., owner of Lemond Nutrition in Plano, TX

 

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Japanese

"I always start the meal off with some protein-packed edamame for the table and a simple salad with fresh and spicy ginger dressing. When it comes to ordering sushi, I avoid the 'crunchy' fried options and creamy sauces, but occasionally it's fun to split one of these more indulgent rolls with a friend. In addition to seafood, I love experimenting with different types of vegetable rolls; if at place I frequent, I'll ask the chef to surprise me. Finally, I always ask for reduced-sodium soy sauce and drink lots of extra water."

— Dana Angelo White, M.D., R.D., ATC, Healthy Eats contributor and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc.

 

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How to Order Healthy at Any Restaurant

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