Monday, September 27, 2010

I Need To Get Restaurant-Educated

Well, a HUGE thank you shout out to Sharon (blog: Gains and Losses: Life Through Sharon's Eyes).

Sometimes, Blogland can be very valuable to those of us trying to lose weight.

Sharon posted, almost as an aside, that the Olive Garden salad, with dressing, is no friendly diet food. And she mentioned she looked up their menu online, and looked for something with a more acceptable nutrition element.

It NEVER even occurred to me to look up a restaurant's website - to see if nutrition information would be posted. Dah. Why didn't I think of that?!! I am naive when it comes to restaurant ANYthing. I thought a salad would be just fine. Well, techinically, it is fine. It is the dressing that is not so diet-friendly. And you know the nutritional posting is for one serving. How many of us have had TWO?

Well, Sharon, you just saved me a week's worth of hard effort. I have a luncheon date with one of my girlfriends for Olive Garden on Friday. I was going to "just" have the salad (with dressing). NOT anymore! My girlfriend can have all the salad she wants. I looked up the website's nutritional information, and found the Minestrone Soup will do just fine for me. Thankyouverymuch. So, to Sharon, my deepest gratitude! Now, I will enjoy Friday's luncheon and know I will have chosen wisely.

I know restaurants use lots of salt (I can taste it ... they use too much). I know they use too much fat (butter - yum!). I know they use too much sugar. I mean, they are in the business of making stuff taste amazing - and salt, fat and sugar do the job. But sometimes that stuff isn't quite so obvious.

I really need to get restaurant-educated. What I don't know CAN hurt me (or at least my efforts). I wonder what other things we need to look out for ...

SBS - Saved By Sharon


  1. You can eat the salad too - but the trick is to get the dressing on the side and instead of pouring it on the salad - just dip the tines of your fork into the dressing, stab a hunk of lettuce and veggies and eat it like that. You still get your fill of healthy food, a taste of the yummy dressing, but your meal isn't drowning in the high caloric dressing. You will be surprised how little dressing you need to eat the meal and you will still enjoy it, I bet.

    Almost every restaurant has their nutrition info listed [the only exception I have found is cracker barrel - shame on them] but I look up sodium for everything and have to avoid almost everything because of the content of it.

  2. Thanks, SkippyMom! That is a good idea.

    As for Cracker Barrel, it is OFF my list while I am dieting. This is just my personal experience, but I met someone there for lunch a few weeks back. I asked the waitress a few questions about the food, and she couldn't answer, so she sent the manager over.

    And he basically told me that even the carrots (that I SO adore there), are cooked swimming in butter. (I would never have guessed that.)

    In fact, I was told there is almost zero on their menu that isn't meat, or doesn't heavily use butter or other high-fat dairy products. NOT good when one is on a low-fat diet.

    So, when it came down to it, I was left with a salad - which consisted of some iceburg lettuce. I put some vinegar on it. Not the greatest lunch ...

    I liked their food very well (too well), before I went on a diet. Now that I am serious about losing weight, I have to seriously avoid C.Barrel. I hate to do it, but I hate carrying around this extra weight more.

  3. Check out dotties weight loss zone, tons of restaurant info

  4. Dr Atkins (rest in peace) said that
    that's why we go out to eat!
    It just tastes better.
    Why? All the salt and fat!
    And actually, sometimes, Ann,
    the website counts aren't as accurate as they would have us believe.
    How could they be? And still taste soooo darm good!

    Have fun anyways! What ever works is what works.

  5. Whoa, Ann!! You popped up in my reader and I found myself! So very glad my post helped you. I was headed over anyway to say basically the same thing SkippyMom said. My restaurant philosophy has become that if they don't post their nutrition information, I don't patronize their establishment. Another helpful tip is to do what I did at Olive Garden. Look up the menu in the privacy of your home, make a good decision and then don't even look at the menu once you arrive in the restaurant. I just politely say, "no thank you, I already know what I want." Thanks for the shout out. That's why I blog - to help others out and allow them to help me out!!

  6. The best way to get the nutrients from green leafy vegetables is to eat them with (GASP) some FAT. Why is this such a hard concept for people to accept. I know conventional wisdom says fat is bad, but isnt conventional wisdom what made everyone fat to begin with. Dressing is not the enemy, processed foods and empty fiber less carbohydrates are the enemy.

  7. Great tips, everyone! Thank you so much!! xxox

    Nancy, "some" fat is the key. Without the dressing, there is 3.5 g of fat in the salad (0.5 of which is saturated - I assume from the cheese). WITH the dressing, there is 26 g of fat (4.5 saturated).

    Those "dressing" numbers are not good for my personal weight reduction, and unnecessary.

    For those who don't know what Nancy is talking about, dark leafy greens have a lot of fat-soluble vitamins (nutrients that REQUIRE some fat in order to be properly aborbed by the body). Mostly, those would likely be A, D, E and K vitamins - but I'm sure there are probably others.

    However, not much fat is required at all, for that exchange to happen efficiently.

    So, the undressed salad, with its 3.5 g of fat, would do the trick very nicely - allowing your body to absorb all those wonderful nutrients.

    True, we NEED fat - just as we need cholesterol. The problem is that I consumed too much for too long. A human body doesn't need much. So, in my case, fatty dressing IS the enemy - much more of the stuff than I need. And yes, processed foods and empty fiber-less carbs are the enemy too. And boy, can my body tell the difference, now that I've changed things for the better!

    Too much fat is bad. Too much sugar is bad. Too much salt is bad. And none of it is good for the weight loss process. Shoot, one salad serving, without dressing, is 120 calories. The same salad serving, with dressing, is 350 calories - nearly triple the calories. So, even if one doesn't care about fat content, the calories are reason enough to think twice.

    Well, Sharon's informative posting reminded me of "buyer beware" at least, so I can make informed decisions.

  8. Hi Ann, lots of great information on here today, I think I get caught up in the low fat, only to find out things are high in sugar. You are doing great.
    keep up the great effort. whoo hoooo. that is my yeah.

  9. Restaurant food = unknown ingredients. Every time I eat out I get into some kind of trouble, either with my calorie count or my digestion. I am so trying to stay away.