Meals to avoid when eating out

Restaurant food generally is a minefield of fat, salt and sugar so as tasty as it might seem, it’s best to avoid it as much as possible when you’re trying to eat something resembling a healthy diet.

Check my Eating Away from Home page for some of the least unhealthy alternatives I’ve found at various restaurants. And if you want to know what to avoid, this article, These are the most unhealthy meals in America, ranked is a good place to start.

Chicken parm pizza style? Really. Avoid it.

On the list:

Chicken Parmesan “Pizza Style” at The Cheesecake Factory. I haven’t eaten at a Cheesecake factory in more than six years, since my first stent went in. Even the salads there are loaded with so much unhealthy stuff they make a mockery of any expectation that  salad will be a healthy choice. This dish totals 1,870 calories, basically a day’s worth. The article doesn’t get into salt and fat but I’m sure it’s mega-artery clogging. Continue reading “Meals to avoid when eating out”

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A vacation breakfast challenge — avoid the pastry

Vacation eating is always fraught with tension for anyone concerned about their salt, saturated fat and sugar intake. It becomes even more of a challenge in a country like Italy with all its wonderful gastronomic creations.

I’ve been vacationing in southern Italy and trying to stick to simple seafood dishes for dinner, but breakfast presents its own challenges. Continue reading “A vacation breakfast challenge — avoid the pastry”

Costco says bye, bye to chocolate frozen yogurt, I say #byebyeCostco

Costco shopping followed by a meal there has been a regular Thursday ritual for me since at least 2006, first for shopping and dinner at its food court and, since I retired in 2015, for Thursday shopping and lunch.

Costco’s food court frozen yogurt swirl, consisting of fat-free vanilla and fat-free chocolate frozen yogurt, is one of the few dessert treats I can reasonably eat on my heart-healthy restricted diet.

What had been my weekly Costco lunch is no more. Who dumps chocolate from the vanilla-chocolate combo? Shame on you Costco.
What had been my weekly Costco lunch is no more. Who dumps chocolate from the vanilla-chocolate combo? Shame on you Costco.

That’s why I was shocked and despondent this past Thursday when I went to order my usual lunch, a salad and a twist of frozen yogurt, only to be told Costco was no longer selling chocolate frozen yogurt at the food court!!!

A little online research found others already have posted about this, apparently the former $1.39 frozen yogurt twist is being replaced by a bowl of frozen acai sherbet with berries and granola for $5.99!!!!

Obviously Costco is trying to appeal to Millennials, who are not shopping there now, with this new offering.

It’s also trying to do it on the cheap by making the new sherbet in the machines that had made the chocolate yogurt rather than bringing in new equipment so it could be offered it in addition to the chocolate yogurt (the vanilla will stay on the other side of the same frozen dessert making machines). Continue reading “Costco says bye, bye to chocolate frozen yogurt, I say #byebyeCostco”

Another look at what to eat at restaurants

Almost all restaurant food is awash in salt, far and sugar, so eating out is a challenge for anyone concerned about their heart-health. I’ve created a page of options for eating out that I’ve found, but I’m always on the lookout for other advice. Cooking Light magazine recently ran this piece, These are the Healthiest Meal Choices at 35 Popular Chain Restaurants.

This is what a Costco food court Caesar salad looks like when you unwrap it, a giant cup of fat-filled Caesar dressing and a mound of high-salt, high-fat grated cheese
Stick to salad when eating on the run, and take out the high-fat dressing and cheese. Always carry your own oil and vinegar packets to use instead.

Keep in mind, healthiest doesn’t necessarily mean healthy, it just means least bad.Still, if you find yourself stuck at a Boston Market or an Au Bon Pain, for example, this list may help you.

I was intrigued that the McDonald’s choices didn’t include a salad without the dressings, which are loaded with salt. I always carry my own oil and vinegar so I’m not tied to any dressing served by a restaurant.

More advice on what’s healthiest to order at McDonald’s

Salads were on the list, but one tip I didn’t know about was asking for the Southwest salad, my usual, without the cilantro-lime glaze can cut the sugar in it substantially.

McDonald’s is everywhere across the United States, so chance are you’ll find yourself in one for a meal from time to time even if you’re on a low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet. I actually go to a local McDonald’s once a week, getting a salad and bringing my own oil and vinegar packets so I don’t use the high-salt Paul Newman dressings.

A McDonald's breakfast platter my mother once loved.
A McDonald’s breakfast platter my mother once loved.It didn’t make the healthy breakfast list on MyFitnessPal.com

And I’ve written before about what nutritionists recommend there. So I was interested to see a story from Myfitnesspal.com headlined What’s the Healthiest Thing to Eat at McDonald’s? Continue reading “More advice on what’s healthiest to order at McDonald’s”

Say it ain’t so Naf Naf Grill. Did you add salt and fat?

So what has happened? Has there been a drastic reformulation of Naf Naf food for the worse, or is something wrong with it’s nutrition info on-site?

I wrote an enthusiastic post about the relatively new fast food chain Naf Naf Grill back in 2014 when I discovered the low-salt content of its pita bread and the low-fat content of its beef in a pita offering. I’ve been touting it to friends and family ever since.

The menu board from a Naf Naf Grill location in Niles, Ill. Other outlets have slightly different offerings.
The menu board from a Naf Naf Grill location in Niles, Ill. Other outlets have slightly different offerings.

So I was shocked and dismayed recently when I checked it’s site and found the numbers have changed drastically for the worse. I’ve written Naf Naf and posted on its Facebook page to get answers but haven’t heard a word yet, very poor customer relations. Continue reading “Say it ain’t so Naf Naf Grill. Did you add salt and fat?”

A fun seafood restaurant in food-heavy Highwood, Il.

The atmosphere is very casual and the staff was very helpful and friendly. And the menu had several other offerings I hope to try on future visits.

Highwood, a far northern Chicago suburb, has been known traditionally for its Italian restaurants but the foodscape there is becoming much more diverse these days. Lucky Fish Deli is just one example, a fun seafood shack that can make you feel like you’re in some sleepy East coast fishing town. Indeed, the decor was inspired by a trip the owner took to Maine, according to one story I’ve read.

Grilled octopus and asparagus at Lucky Fish, loved it.
Grilled octopus and asparagus at Lucky Fish, loved it.

The seafood was excellent. I went with a half-dozen oysters, which came out clean, fresh and cold as they should be served. I think the waiter said they were bluepoints. I was a little surprised there weren’t several varieties to choose from, but was very happy with what was available. Continue reading “A fun seafood restaurant in food-heavy Highwood, Il.”