How to Order at a French/Continental Restaurant

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition

If you’re dining at a French restaurant, your biggest obstacle may be the large serving sizes and multiple courses that are common in these establishments. It will be important to pay attention to how much you’re eating so that you don’t accidentally go overboard. Even if you’re caught up in good conversation, don’t lose track of whether you’re picking too much at the shared appetizer or eating more of your dinner than you’d planned to. Keeping control of your eating habits and choosing wisely from the menu will make a huge difference in how well you stick to your plan.

Avoid this.

First and foremost, pass on the bread and butter that will likely come out first. Filling up on dinner rolls won’t do your diet any good. Also, be sure to steer clear of fried appetizers, cream-based soups and salads with creamy dressings. You could easily stack up the number of calories you’ve consumed before even being served your dinner.

As you explore the menu for your entrée selection, avoid dishes with rich sauces such as hollandaise, which will have a lot of fat and calories. Similarly, “stuffed” dishes—such as stuffed chicken breast—are popular in European cuisine but also tend to have a lot of fat and calories. You’ll also want to stay away from cheesy dishes or those served “au gratin,” which means sprinkled with seasoned breadcrumbs and cheese.

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Order this.

Instead, choose lean meat dishes such as lean pork, chicken, fish or shrimp. If you choose a beef dish, opt for small cuts. Vegetables such as asparagus are always a great pick, assuming they’re not served in a cream or cheese-based sauce.

You can always ask the wait staff to put sauces, butter and sour cream on the side and you might see if the chef could steam your side of vegetables. If the portion sizes are large, ask if you can have an extra plate to share some of your dinner or even request a half or “petite” portion.

Also look for dishes that are broiled, grilled, poached, roasted, or steamed.

Dessert? That’s fine. Just do this.

Of course, any French restaurant tend is known for lavish desserts. At Nutrisystem we believe that you should be able to treat yourself once in a while on the program—the key is just not going overboard or doing it all the time. If you’re having a special dinner and want to splurge on a dessert, why not consider sharing one as opposed to eating the whole thing yourself. Ask for one dessert but multiple spoons/forks, depending whom you’re dining with.

Maintaining your willpower will be key when dining at a French restaurant. With so many rich and decadent choices, you’ll need to make an effort to stick to your plan and choose wisely. You can still enjoy a delicious dinner but by not overindulging, you’ll feel better and be able to stay on track.

Check out this handy guide to better understand what you should order and avoid while out to eat:

French Continental food eating out guide

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