Guide to


 Eating Out


by Larry North

IN THE JUNE ISSUE OF TRANSACTION WORLD, we talked about the importance of understanding what you are ordering before you place your menu selections when eating out. Here is a list of specific dishes you can look for, regardless of which restaurant you visit.


Order an egg-white omelet, filet-of-sole, poached sea bass, trout, bay scallops, or other grilled fish or white meat in wine sauce.Try a house salad without dressing, spinach without bacon or eggs added. Avoid cream-based sauces and sauteed dishes, unless sauteed in water and avoid high-fat dishes like duck and pat´┐Ż de fois gras.


Look for a vegetable plate without sauce, meatless pasta with oil-free marinara or wine sauce, or a vegetarian pizza with no cheese and an oil-free crust. Avoid cream sauces and fatty meats such as prosciutto, parmesan cheese, breaded veal, breaded vegetables, olive oil and white breads. Plain pasta may be a good choice. A great Italian meal is grilled portabello mushrooms with balsamic vinegar, grilled chicken Caesar salad with dressing on the side and a small bowl of plain pasta with marinara sauce on the side.


Look for fresh fish or chicken breast marinated in lime juice with beans and rice. You can also order corn tortillas (not fried), chicken enchiladas without cheese or cream sauce, or chicken fajitas grilled in lemon/lime juice. Avoid cheese, chips, sour cream, guacamole and refried beans (ask for whole beans instead). Order grilled chicken fajitas with no oil, corn tortillas instead of higher-fat flour tortillas, rice instead of refried beans, pico de gallo instead of guacamole and no cheese. Have the lettuce, onion, and tomato served on the side.


Order Moo Goo Gai Pan without sauce. Ask for fresh or steamed fish and vegetables. Make sure only white meat chicken is used in the chicken dishes. Ask that your order be stir-fried in broth or water instead of oil or salt. Choose the dishes that come with sliced meat rather than diced meat because diced meat often comes from fat cuts of meat. Order steamed rice instead of fried rice. Avoid egg rolls, any batter-fried item, any egg dishes and nut dishes. Don't order beef or pork and never order duck.

Vietnamese, Thai or Japanese

These restaurants are great because they use very little oil in their cooking to begin with. You can order any type of dish with no egg and no oil and it's likely to be low fat. You can also order a spring roll, just make sure it's not fried. Japanese restaurants also cook many items without oil or margarine. Sushi places can be ideal, as long as you order the less-fattening items on the menu. I recommend the California roll minus avocados or mayonnaise. However, be careful because some sushi can be extremely high in fat, such as eel and ahi tuna.

Steak House

At a steak restaurant, ask for a large dinner salad without cheese or croutons and a baked potato with yogurt or Dijon mustard. Most of these restaurants offer grilled chicken on the menu. When ordering chicken, ask that it be prepared using no oil and with all of the fat trimmed. Usually, shrimp or lobster is okay to order. If you want to eat steak, then order only one. My suggestion is to get a smaller cut of filet (6 ounces is a good size) and have the chef butterfly it (where it is cut down the middle) and this will help get rid of some of the fat while it is being grilled.

Fast Food

There is very little nutritional value in fast food. It hits you with a horde of calories that are basically sugar and fat without any fiber or vitamins. Don't be fooled into thinking that fast-food chicken is better than hamburgers. A single fried chicken nugget contains an entire tablespoon of mostly saturated fat. Fast-food chicken sandwiches have as much fat as hamburgers. As for fried chicken, the original healthful piece is soaked in so much oil that the fat has seeped down to the bone. If you must eat at a fast-food restaurant, try to go vegetarian. Go for a baked potato.

Pizza Parlor

At a pizza restaurant, order a pizza with peppers, mushrooms onions, shrimp and chicken if available, with no cheese. This alone will save you a tremendous number of calories.

American Chain Restaurants

Actually, these restaurants have become very accessible. Most of them carry grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, brown rice, black beans, salads, fat-free dressing and steamed vegetables.


At cafeterias, it's best to go vegeterian. Most of the meats offered at cafeterias are soaked in oil or butter, as are the vegetables. Your safest choices are going to be straight dinner salads with the dressing on the side. Avoid all casseroles.

Greasy Spoon

If you're eating breakfast, order five to seven hard-boiled or poached eggs without the yolks, a bowl of oatmeal and dry toast. You can special order a grilled white meat item and ask that the vegetables not be sauteed, fried or buttered.

Larry North is President of Larry North Fitness. He may be contacted by phone at 214.526.6784 or via website at