Monday, January 19, 2009

Choosing Healthy Food when Dining out:

Before learning how to pick out "Healthy Options" from a restaurant menu, try to familiarize yourself with some cooking terminology so that you know how the food is cooked. I'm going to categorize it under "Red-Alarm bells" and "Green-Go ahead".
Red-Alarm Bells:
  1. Deep fried: Deep frying is a cooking method in which food is submerged in hot oil (read:calories,calories).
  2. Pan fried: or shallow frying uses lesser quantity of oil than deep frying using only enough fat to immerse about one-third of each piece of food.
  3. Breaded: to coat a food with flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs before frying.
  4. Creamy/in a cream sauce: containing cream or/and butter,cheese.
  5. Basted: to cook food by brushing or spooning with fat at regular intervals.
  6. Crispy: food fried in such a way that it is very crunchy.
  7. Batter dipped: food dipped in a coating mix before frying.
  8. Scalloped/Gratin: refers to a preparation of a thinly sliced potatoes(or any other food) and a cream sauce topped with a crust of browned breadcrumbs and butter,often sprinkled with grated cheese.
  9. Alfredo(used mostly in America):food made with Parmesan cheese,butter and heavy cream.
  10. Au-gratin: Covered with bread crumbs and sometimes butter and grated cheese, and then browned in an oven.
Green-Go Ahead:
  1. Steamed:food cooked by using steam by putting it on top of boiling water in a closed vessel.
  2. Poached: Poaching is the method of gently simmering food in a liquid(usually water,milk or stock).
  3. Broiled:food cooked by placing it at a measured distance below dry heat
  4. Grilled: food cooked on a grill which is placed above the heat source.
  5. Roasted: food cooked using dry heat which could be an open flame,oven or other heat source.
  6. Baked: Baking is the technique of prolonged cooking of food by dry heat acting normally in an oven.
  7. Braised: meat cooked by searing using a little fat then simmered in a covered dish in a small amount of moisture.
  8. Tandoori: food cooked in a tandoor over hot charcoal.
  9. Stir-fried/sauteed:food cooked in very little oil over high heat using light tossing and stirring motions.
Once you are familiar with these terms,choosing a healthy option from a restaurant menu will be easier.Check out this awesome slide show on WebMD titled "Healthy Restaurant Eating"

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