Choosing Healthy Meals at European Style Restaurants


Bowl of Minestrone Soup

Making the switch to become healthier is one of those things that looks really good on paper and then is difficult to transition into real life. Well, it does not need to be that difficult and with a few helpful tips, you can maintain a social lifestyle and still enjoy dining out at health-conscious restaurants.

Why European Style Restaurants?

European restaurants often offer foods that are free of heavy sauces that just pack on calories. So their menu offerings are generally healthier than the typical American style restaurant. Making a lifestyle change is not specifically about giving up good food. It is more about discovering other foods that are equally good, but that also contain more healthy benefits. You can discover more about this at the Metabolic Research Center where healthy foods are delicious.

There is a myth that forms in our minds when we think of healthy foods. It is the idea that healthy foods don't taste good. The reason for this is that generations of us have been brought up on the starvation method of losing weight — Celery and carrot sticks. These do not make a meal, yet that is what we think of when we think about eating a healthy diet.

What Food Choices Really Mean

Fat, salt, and sugar are three ingredients that go into obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. These diseases have become the American dream. We celebrate birthdays with cake, but we celebrate every day. We spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars each year on high-calorie coffee beverages from places like Starbucks, then we quaff at the cost of organic foods at the grocery store. We have in our minds the idea that healthy eating is either expensive or void of taste. In this reading-between-the-lines blog, we look at what food choices really mean.

This or That? Which do I choose?

So you are out at a restaurant and the first thing you are given is a menu. Menus, by the way, are just a list of choices or options. So what you opt to eat is entirely up to you. So what do you choose?

  • Crab bisque or minestrone? Cream-based soups add extra calories and fat to your meal. Opting for clear-broth soups is a better choice.
  • Garden salad or potato salad? Both can be calorie rich, but the garden salad gives you more control over the amount of dressing and the type of dressing. So the garden salad is the better choice. Another consideration is how quickly foods turn to glucose and potatoes, while a healthy choice, are higher on the glycemic index than most green veggies.
  • Pasta Alfredo or Lasagna? Neither. Pasta is a food that turns to glucose quickly and that means a blood-glucose crash is not far off. When your blood-sugar drops it sends a signal to your brain that you are starving and the next thing you know you are binge eating. Not a good choice if you are trying to lose weight or find healthier food options. Avoid pasta and other highly processed foods, such as bread.
  • Poached salmon or grilled Ahi Tuna (also known as yellowfin tuna)? Either is a good choice. The consideration here is how they are prepared. A simple poached filet of salmon is perfect unless it comes drenched in a cream sauce. Grilled fish, like salmon or tuna, is also a good choice so long as it is not coated in a glaze or cream sauce. Simple foods can be wonderfully delicious and not buried in calorie-laden sauces.

The list of options goes on for a mile, but the goal here is not to create an either or list, but to get you to think about how to make better choices when you sit down to a meal at a restaurant. Think about what goes into a menu item and then decide if there is a better option for your healthy lifestyle goals. To learn more about how to choose better foods, visit the fine folks over at the Metabolic Research Center. There you will discover a supportive environment, a ton of literature, healthy menus, and even support.

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