EATS: Dining out healthily not as easy as thought

Keith and I decided to treat ourselves to a night out Monday – so we went to an Italian chain restaurant. We wanted to keep it “relatively” healthy – so no alcohol, no dessert – and hold the bread sticks.

Turns out the bread sticks should have been the least of my worries. We elected to get an appetizer of flat bread with tomato, mozzarella and basil – it was baked, not fried. Figuring mozzarella isn’t the most unhealthy of cheeses, and flat bread probably isn’t as bad as regular bread, we thought it’d be the better option than never-ending bread sticks.

That would have only been the case if we ate three or more bread sticks! I, for one, usually only eat one – and at 150 calories (according to the restaurant’s web site) would have been half the calories of the flat bread appetizer – once split in half.

Keith did better than I in choosing a healthy dish. In my defense, I felt like going out as a treat for all the working out I’ve been doing and didn’t want to deprive myself.

As it was, however, I chose a chicken scallopini dish with cheese-filled tortellini – a full portion has nearly 1,300 calories! Thank goodness I ate only half and took the rest home for a meal later this week.

I might be re-thinking the leftovers.

Keith’s dish was a pasta and seafood concoction with a tomato-based sauce. Shellfish are naturally low in fat, so already, his was a better choice. On top of that, he subbed out the regular pasta for whole wheat fettuccine, making it a healthier starch.

His full portion had a little more than 600 calories – and he only ate half.

While I’m not going to beat myself up too much over my dining choices – I do love a good meal and this one was tasty! – I think I’ll double-check the restaurant’s online nutrition guide prior to heading out for a night on the town so making a smart decision is easier.

Do you have any tips for dining out and not busting your seams? I’d like to hear ’em, so post a comment below or email your comments to with Eats in the subject line.

Happy Eats!Deb

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