What Ethnic Foods You Need to Avoid

It’s difficult to watch your weight when you eat out a lot – whether it’s for business or simply because you love trying new cuisines.   Here is a general guide to some of the more popular restaurant foods, what their names mean, and whether or not they’re going to ruin your diet.

Italian Food
Everyone loves a pizza or a big bowl of pasta.  While pizza is almost always a dieting no-no, pasta doesn’t have to be the end of your diet – especially if it’s whole-grain pasta.

When eating Italian foods remember that these dishes often come in large portions and many contain good amounts of olive oil and butters.

Some Italian dishes can be very high in calories so choose cautiously.  Especially pay attention to dishes that are based on a cream sauce.

If you see the following items on the menu, it may be best to choose something else:

  • Alfredo
  • Alla oanna
  • Carbonara
  • Frito misto
  • Parmigiana
  • Prosciutto

However, if your pasta dish is based in one of the following sauces, it’s probably one of the more low-fat options on the menu.

  • Piccata
  • Red clam sauce
  • Wine sauces
  • Light red sauce
  • Marinara sauce

French Food

French restaurant foods are generally high in fat.

In general, it can be very difficult to find French food in a restaurant that isn’t going to destroy your calorie count.  Part of the battle is knowing exactly what goes into some of the sauces and entrees.
Here are a few definitions of French cuisine terms that can help you to make sense of it all:

  • Au vapour – Steamed (Generally low-fat, especially if vegetables or meat)
  • En brochette – broiled (Not as low in fat, but not as bad as fried food)
  • Grille – Grilled (Can be high in fat, if grilled with lots of olive oil or butter)
  • A la creme – in cream sauce (Avoid these)
  • Au gratin – with cream & cheese (Super high in fat!)
  • En cruote – crusty pastry (Also high in fat, but okay in small quantities)
  • Remoulade – Mayonnaise sauce (Very high fat – also look out for Hollandaise and Béarnaise)

Thai Food

For Thai restaurants it is mostly good news, as most of the food is generally stir-fried or steamed, and the spices in their curries can help to speed up your metabolism.

The only thing to look out for is how much oil the chefs use when they cook things like noodles with beef and chilli.
Three things that you should look out for when you order Thai food are:

  • Mee-Krob
  • Peanut sauce
  • Anything with coconut milk (very high fat)


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