Over the years, I’ve discovered strategies for eating out while avoiding weight gain. A fundamental mistake is to assume that restaurant food is nutritionally and calorically similar to home-cooked. It’s not. There’s a reason why it’s often tastier, and it’s not merely due to professional chefs’ sophisticated understanding of ingredients, seasoning, and spices—though, of course, their expertise helps. It’s that the vast majority of cooks and chefs aim for flavor, not nutrition. I don’t fault them, but if padding the restaurant’s bottom line pads your butt, too bad.
The flavors and convenience are what makes it fun to eat out, but also risky. Several years ago, when I was nursing four babies in rather quick succession, I spent a lot of time watching the Food Network to pass the time. Back then, the programming was about technique and recipes, not glam cook-offs and reality TV. I watched and learned a lot. One thing that I always noticed was that what the chefs were telling you and what they were doing, were often two separate [Read more…]