It’s easy to hand out advice on living the right lifestyle but what about following up on it. With this in mind I convinced my husband to make a simple change, eating right while eating out. Given our sedentary and highly stressful lifestyles, most of us take a break by going out to eat, either on the weekends or as a mid-week break. In our family, we occasionally tend to do both. We also can’t afford to eat at the best restaurants on every outing, where the chef is willing to make food to suit our specific requirements.
So how do you eat right when you eat out?
That is the question we asked ourselves and started our own local project. This series will track our efforts to eat right, given the existing and easily available dining out options in our city. Every post will give you an idea of the dishes we ordered, as well as, an idea of how tasty, or not, our meal was. We are not experts on nutrition or dietitians by profession, so there will be no calorie counting or diet advice. Just a couple of stressed out workaholics trying to do the right thing, while having a good meal.
Most days of the week we get a salad, for lunch, from a popular international salad chain. Today, however, I had a mild sniffle and was craving something hot and that’s when we decided to have Indian-Chinese. I was most definitely not going to sacrifice my diet, while having a good ten kgs to lose, post my hormonal imbalance issue, and so the experiment started.
We walked in to a standard issue restaurant chain serving Indian-Chinese, and started skimming the menu.
I decided to go with the safe but tasty Vegetable Tom Yum soup, while my husband picked the Chicken Garlic Soup. Now both were clear soups, so they fit in with our diet. We added a Chinese Salad and Mushroom Pepper Salt as starters. For the main course my husband wanted chicken and the steward courteously agreed to replace the fried chicken in his dish with a steamed version. I settled on a Stir Fried Vegetable dry (no corn starchy gravy for me).
Generally when we order at Chinese restaurants we specify the following “No Ajinomoto (MSG), minimum oil and less salt”. The soup arrived, pretty quickly and it was piping hot, without an oily film on top, which was a relief. While, the Chicken Garlic soup had just the right bit of lemongrass flavour, the Vegetable Tom Yum was tasty but had a distinct curry flavour with the coriander and tumeric being pretty strong. The Stir Fried Vegetable was a pleasant surprise. It was tasty with absolutely no oily residue and pretty salad-like in look and feel. We had forgotten that the mushroom would be fried when we ordered it and to the chef’s credit he had used the minimum possible oil, and still managed to make it tasty with a lot of spicy freshly crushed pepper. The Chinese Salad was the last to arrive and it was basically Kimchi (which used to be complimentary at most Chinese restaurants) with a larger variety of vegetables. The only downside to the salad was, it had some crispy fried stuff sprinkled on top, which I ate quite a bit of.
First having a fairly healthy Indian Chinese meal is possible, though it requires a bit of effort to check what goes into the dishes. In the future, we need to check portions sizes before ordering. In this case, the portions were quite large and we should have stuck to a soup each and two dishes apart from that. To make the meal really healthy, we could have skipped the fried mushrooms, as well as the crispy fried additions to the Salad. Given this assessment, here’s how I rate the experience on a range of 1-5, (with 1 being extremely poor and 5 being excellent):
Taste : 4
Quality of Food/Ingredients: 3
Health Factor: 2 (Two fried dishes was not a good idea – the mushrooms and the salad topping)
Our tips for a healthy Indian-Chinese meal:
- Be sure to lose the deep fried stuff
- Remember to always specify “No Ajinomoto (MSG), minimum oil and less salt.”
- Choose a clear soup
See you next month and be sure to recommend different cuisines or dishes for us to try. You can even write to us about your healthy eating experiences.
P.S. – I did have a fat-free (not sugar free) chocolate sorbet, after the meal, at a popular ice-cream parlour. But this is a health blog and I have to keep my secrets.
About the Author:
Niranjani is an entrepreneur and blogger who believes that good quality, affordable healthcare should be available to all. She occasional puffs and pants her way through a 10k race to feel fit, despite her chaotic life.
Photo Credit: Image 1 (Since I’m not a food blogger, I forgot to take pictures.)
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