In this article we’ll pick up where our previous article ended, looking at low calorie dishes for those visiting a restaurant while dieting. For those looking to gain muscle and lose weight, you will also want to focus on dishes with high protein, and avoid those with simple carbs (sugars), saturated and trans fats, and high-sodium.
Many will know that pasta offers complex carbohydrates that can provide a lot of energy for a long stretch of time. However, pasta does take about a day for the carbs to begin breaking down, and something to keep in mind is that if you do not work out and they are not needed, these carbs will be stored as fat in your body. Not all pasta dishes are the same though. For instance, pasta dishes that include sauce like alfredo tend to have a bit more sodium than normal marinara, though the amount is negligible if you are otherwise within your daily limit.
Bread: Pros and Cons
There are many types of bread. Some have a lot of unhealthy fats and empty cards. For example, fried options can quickly push you over your sodium limits. While sodium does not have a direct effect on the amount of calories you burn, it can cause water retention. High-sodium diets will create the appearance that you are larger than you actually are, an effect that can go away quickly after making dietary changes. However, wheat bread can actually be a healthy source of both protein and carbs. If you order a dish that includes bread, be sure to ask for wheat.
Salad’s Hidden Calories
Many diets encourage you to eat all the salad you can, and while that is an option, the results will depend on where you are in your dietary journey. Most salads are low in carbs, fat, protein, and calories. Many of these actually come the fat and sugar in the dressing, not the salad itself, so it’s a good idea to use very little dressing. Salads are great options for those who are looking to lose weight, but will have little benefit on muscle building. This can change if salads are paired with lean meat.
Lean meats are a great option to look for when eating out. Chicken, veal, and seafood such as shrimp and scallops are great options that will taste great, be high in protein but low in carbs. For those looking for a protein boost, eggplant is also a great option. Eggplant added to a lean meat, especially chicken, is one of our favorite healthy dishes.
Gluten-free options are similar to the dietary options for those on the Atkin’s diet. Most people will know that they should not eat any kind of pasta, ass well as any sides and appetizers that will have bread. Salads can be a great option for those looking to avoid gluten. Meat dishes can be gluten-free as well, but you will need to make sure that the dish does not have any grains in it.
Vegans will have somewhat more limited options, but they can still find some tasty dishes. For salads, it is best to stick with balsamic dressing options to avoid dairy based options like ranch. Balsamic vinegar can make an especially delicious option. Pasta dishes with marinara and vegan lasagna are other great dishes to consider.
Hopefully these pointers will help you stick to your dietary restrictions, while getting a great meal that is tasty, too. If you’d like more information about healthy options for eating out, visit Italian Garden, located in San Marcos, TX.