Monday, January 21, 2013

How to be smart when dining out (so you can enjoy guilt-free)

Part 1 of 3

One of my many favorite cheat foods is pizza. And I like to have the whole thing to myself! So I try to make the best choices I can when I eat out.

I always choose a thin crusted pizza (preferably whole wheat, but if not available, it's okay).

And I always ask for "take it easy on the cheese please." I usually ask for half the cheese they normally put. You don't need your pizza drowned in cheese — a light layer enough for flavor should do the trick. 

And boom! Just like that, with those wiser choices, you just cut your pizza calories in half. Less grease, less fat, less starchy carbs, but still same great taste and just enough to receive nutrients without overloading on "food"!

When making pizza at home, opt for low fat cheese, and use thin crust bread. You can even split a pita bread or an English muffin in half and use that as your crust, or use a fajita wrap! :)

Part 2 of 3

I love meat! Here I'm having a delicious braised short rib with Italian sausage in fresh pomodoro (tomato) on a bed of creamy polenta (cornmeal), and lightly grated parmigiano cheese.

Here's the tip: Always order a huge GREEN salad or a ton of GREEN veggies on the side to go with your meat. This way, not only are you having your protein, but you're also balancing your meal with fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Furthermore, the alkalinity of the greens will help counter the acidity of the meat — and this combination will help your body digest the meat more efficiently. You'll even feel light after your meal — not heavy and bloated as if you had meat with potatoes and rice.

So when it comes to green salads, always ask for the dressing on the side and make sure it is a light, healthy dressing. If healthy dressing is not available, just ask for a little olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon. 

And if you order a side of green veggies, always ask how it is made... If the veggie options they have are drowned in creams, oils or butter, just politely request that they minimize those things for your order. Better yet, I simply request mine to be steamed, or sautéed with garlic or shallots or whatever light, tasty flavor the chef thinks it's best!

Now go eat-out and have fun! :)

Part 3 of 3

If you love wine like I do, you probably enjoy learning something new about it every time you drink! :) And with the holiday season coming up, I want to share some basic wine knowledge to help you choose for gifts; or for entertaining at home or when dining out.

It's best to serve wine with food from its region. For pasta, look to an Italian bottle. For paella, go Spanish. If all else fails, try Merlot from France, Malbec from Argentina, Chardonnay from Australia, and Pinot Grigio from Northern Italy. Pinot Noir pairs with almost anything. And you can't go wrong with bubbly. 

Also, remember to stay hydrated when drinking wine. Preferably drink a glass of water for every glass of wine or two. It will make your wine-drinking adventure more fun — no dehydration, no bad breath, no headaches, no hang-over — Niente! 

If you're looking for a great bottle of wine on a tight budget, see if an expensive wine's producer also makes a value bottle — it's likely to be crafted with the same care. ;) Now go entertain some friends, and as you serve wine, share this info so you look like you actually know what you're talking about! lol :)

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