Friday, October 19, 2012

"Could You Make That A Salad, Please?" Easy Low Carb Restaurant Fare

I have found that one of the easiest ways to get a low carb, healthy and delicious meal at almost any restaurant is to ask for a custom-made salad. Of course, you don't call it that, because you don't want to sound like you're asking for some complicated dish. But this method really works almost anywhere! Even at burger joints or sub shops or truck stops, wherever you end up, as long as they have an item with lettuce on the menu, you can make this work.

Say you go out to eat with friends or family. They picked the place. You look at the menu and everything is either deep fried or breaded or ON bread. No plain steamed veggies and a chicken breast here! Or even if there is, maybe you want something a little tastier. Most places these days *do* have a salad or two on the menu, but they can be pretty meager. Maybe there's a "side salad" which is just bagged iceberg and shredded carrots topped with croutons and cheese. But most places have better veggies back there! You just have to be creative.

Look at the sandwiches or the burgers or the tacos. Do they have lettuce on them? Often it's Romaine, or even spinach. Look at the other things they list on their burgers and sandwiches: sliced tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, avocado? Sounds like a salad!

You can pick any item on a menu and just ask, "Can you make that a salad, please?" and almost everyone will accommodate you. If they look puzzled, just say, "no bun (no bread/taco shell/tortilla), just put it over a big plate of lettuce, tomatoes, onions..." and whatever other veggies you'd like. A bacon avocado turkey burger is fantastic over a salad! Or how about a ham and turkey sandwich salad, or a fajita salad? One of my favorite dishes at Mexican places is chicken fajitas with all the peppers, onions, and mushrooms over a salad instead of wrapped in tortillas. Top it with some salsa and guacamole... so good. And if you like Greek food, next time you're out for Greek, ask for gyro meat and fillings on a salad. There is nothing quite as tasty as a salad full of seasoned lamb, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, red onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Who needs bread anyway? I don't! We don't need buns. We don't need tortillas. No need for taco shells or pitas or crusts. A "pizza salad" full of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, peppers, black olives, ham, pepperoni, and cheese is so good. Eating low carb can be delicious... and easy... even when you're eating out, if you know what to ask for.


Forty Pound Sack said...

I don't NEED bread, but I enjoy it once in a while.....

timothy said...

absolutely! do you know some rocket scientist at burger king told me i couldnt get the burger without the bun! lmao i just smilled and asked for the manager who looked like he wanted to do a gibbs and slap the kid in the back of the head!

Mir Writes said...

While I was in my 2 year active dieting phase, and especially the one year I was hard-core, I cut out most restaurants and stuck to about 4 we trusted. I talked to the owners about what they put in food--oils used, ingredients. Got to when i arrived, they'd know, "Oh, she doesn't get chips, just salsa." or "no braed for that table". :D The waitresses knew I'd substitute a salad or veggies for potatoes or rice or beans.

Once they get to know you, it's easy. :D

Any person watching starches/sugars knows salads or just more veggies is the way to go.

Since I was moderate low carb, not radical low carb, fruit was and is my dessert of choice outside the house and in.

Sunday last, we had "brunch" out at a French Bistro. I asked for a double side salad, no bread on my burger (it came with bacon and a fried egg on top). I had fruit salad for dessert.

I've pretty much given up my old fave: Italian restaurants. Last time I went, I had a caprese salad on arugula and veggie soup, but seeing pasta all around was too hard, so no more.

It just takes getting used to..substitutions.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good idea. But how about their pricing on your customized salad? I think they're not ready for that.

Tammie Grey

Lyn said...

Anonymous (Tammie)~

So far, they've just charged me the usual price of the sandwich, burger, or gyro. I figure they are saving money by not giving me a bun and chips! But if they wanted to charge me an extra buck or two for the veggies, I'd be okay with that :)

Lori said...

I've done the fajita thing plenty of times. It is much better than ordering the 'salad' on the menu and there is no temptation by the deep fried shell.

Margaret said...

There is a difference between having a wheat allergy and having insulin resistance, though sometimes the solutions look similar on the outside.

Can you eat a normal serving of ice cream? (Not suggesting you do that right now, but if you can remember...)

Knowing the difference, and which applies in your case, is important when designing a program that works.

Lyn said...

LOL, Margaret, "not suggesting you do that right now"... gave me a laugh :)

Ice cream has been something that does not "drive me" to eat more and more, *unless* there are chunks of cookies or brownies or other stuff IN the ice cream. The foods that make me want to eat and eat are bakery items, breads, pasta, pizza... oddly enough, all stuff with wheat in it. Cookies and such. I used to eat a whole loaf of fresh baked bread in a day. I *have* binged on ice cream in the past, but I've had sugar free ice cream here and there and it doesn't bother me like cake does. Cake really bothers me, both physically and emotionally (cravings for more and more).

Anonymous said...

I never thought of doing that! what a good idea.


CatherineMarie said...

If you have celiac, you have to be much more careful. For instance, apparently the eggs at one popular chain have pancake batter added to make them fluffier/more substantial. Things can be dusted in flour before being cooked, or breadcrumbs can be added to bulk up the meat.

When you are eating out, go as simple as possible...