Q. I need to lose a few pounds, and know I should concentrate on eating chicken, fish, etc. However, I’m a little concerned about the sauces that come with most of these dishes. What are some sauces to avoid, and which ones are relatively “safe?” Or should I just accept the fact that when I eat out I’m in trouble?
A. It’s interesting to me that this question used to be asked much more often than it is now. We are clearly not getting any thinner, but maybe losing weight isn’t cool anymore. Or perhaps allergic reactions to seemingly everything have taken over. But the following still deserves consideration.
I must start by admitting that I an not a doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist, and that those professionals should be consulted if you want to have a long-term, well-informed program in dieting.
That said, I start by saying that you don’t need to give up on dining out. You just have to know what you’re eating, and which items can do the most potential damage. Ask questions and ask for low-fat dishes. Any good restaurant can honor that request.
Or do what I do: order whatever you feel like eating, and only eat half of what they serve you. The biggest problem with eating in restaurants is that out is that most of them serve too much food, and use sauces that pack the maximum flavor. Which often means cream, butter, and other delicious carriers of flavor.
The matter of savory (as opposed to sweet) sauces is a simple one, if you’re trying to eat light. Just look for and avoid fat. Sauces made from butter (meuniere, buerre blanc, hollandaise, roux-based sauces), cream (lots of those, but all pretty obvious), drippings (pan gravies) or olive oil (New Orleans-style bordelaise) are the high ones, and to be avoided if you want to lighten up.
Those without fat are usually okay. They include most sauces dominated by tomatoes, demi-glace, stocks, wine, or herbs. Most of these have a little butter or olive oil in them, but not enough to worry about. Nothing else in them carries large caloric loads.
But I still come back to an incontrovertible fact: you can eat almost anything you want, as long as you don’t eat it all the time or in enormous quantities.
This post originally appeared on Tom's website, NOMenu.com