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  • Writer's pictureJillian Tedesco

Navigating Restaurant Menus like a Pro

Alright, folks, let's tackle the restaurant menu game together! After reading this blog, my goal is for you to be able to walk into any eatery with confidence. So, where do we start? Let's break it down step by step, starting with the basics. Building a balanced plate is the goal, lets get started!


Protein Identification: Begin with the protein – your dish's star. Whether it's steak, chicken, or fish, ask yourself: is it lean or fatty? High-fat proteins bring extra calories and flavor. Take note of breading, toppings, and marinades – they can sneak in extra fats and carbs.

Preparation: Consider how it's cooked. Opt for lean methods like grilling, baking, roasting, or broiling. Steer clear of deep-frying; it's not your waistline's friend. If braised, it's slow-cooked in the oven with liquid – think pot roast.

Choosing Wisely: Personally, I lean towards clean proteins sautéed in olive oil or grilled. Don't hesitate to ask the waiter to skip the sauce if you're watching your intake.

Protein Pondering: If the menu is a mystery, go for a grilled or sautéed protein with olive oil. Most places will accommodate your request.

Note to Self: If you indulge in a fatty protein, topped with cheese, or cooked in a fat-heavy way, be aware – the fat portion is in your protein. Fat packs a punch at 9 calories per gram.


Carb Selection: Clean starches like baked potatoes, rice pilaf, or whole-grain pasta are your go-to. Watch out for oversized servings; restaurants tend to be generous. Opt for a plain baked potato with a hint of butter for control.

Carb Consideration: Pair a fatty protein with a lean carbohydrate. If you choose a cheesy potato, balance it with a lean fish, steak, or chicken breast.


Veggie Victory: Veggies are your secret weapon for body fat management. They're packed with micronutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. Choose simple preparations like steamed, grilled, or sautéed, skipping the unnecessary add-ons.

Salads: Salads can be tricky. If you're unsure, go for a garden salad with vinaigrette on the side to control calories.

Indulgent Salad Strategy: If you're up for a salad feast, go for a full-size salad as your meal and add a protein for a satisfying indulgence. Be cautious of cheese, nuts, dressings, and high-fat proteins – these are all contributors to your fat intake.


Appetizer Building: Enjoy the process of selecting your protein, starch, and veggies. For indulgence, explore foods you don't typically eat. For instance, if oysters are an option, go for it – they're low-calorie and nutrient-rich or savoring a 63-degree boiled egg atop your Caesar salad.

Dessert Dilemma: If dessert is on your mind, be mindful of the fat content in your meal. Calories add up, so spend them wisely.

Portion Control:

Size Matters: Stick to your portions. Proteins should be palm-sized, carbs fist-sized, and veggies are unlimited. Keep your fat intake around the size of your thumb.

Thumb Rule: If you can visualize the butter your filet was sautéed in or the fat marbling in your steak, that's about the right amount of fat.


Drink Choices: I personally love sparkling water with citrus. It's a fancier alternative to water and satisfies with its carbonation. Remember, alcohol isn't a necessary macronutrient.

There you have it – a detailed roadmap to conquer the restaurant menu with confidence! Cheers to informed and enjoyable dining!





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