Dishes You've Never Really Stopped to Think About
Unless you're a knowledgeable cook, there are probably a few dishes that you always order without knowing how to make them, what's in them, or what exactly they are. Here's your cheat sheet: Miso is high in sodium (986 mg in one cup; 251 mg in a tablespoon), and "tempura" is Japanese for "we borrowed this dish from the Portuguese, and that's why it's so fattening" (kidding; it signifies "deep fried"). Pork belly, the popular boneless meat, has 16 times more saturated fat than pork tenderloin and 10 times more saturated fat than pork chops. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover pork belly's country cousin, bacon, in sautéed vegetables and sauces...until you realize that sweet-smoky flavor is also supremely fatty-salty. Then there's confit. French women may not get fat, but you will if confit becomes your go-to bistro dish. This meat-preserving method, which involves cooking meat submerged in its own rendered fat (or in duck fat), traditionally involves duck or goose and was justifiable in the time before refrigerators. But it's cropping up on menus these days as chefs try it with pork, lamb, turkey and even fish.
Nude Foods That Are Hiding Something
Wonder why vegetable purees at restaurants always taste richer than the ones you blend at home? Schwartz from ICE says that it's usually due to cream (or sour cream, in the case of some cold soups). To suss out dairy, he suggests asking if the soup is vegan. Schwartz sees patrons passing on the potatoes and ordering rice instead, but he says it's common for Western-style chefs to add oil or butter for extra flavor and to keep grains from clumping (he advises requesting it "steamed plain"). "Grilled" suggests a flaming charcoal grill with open bars to allow fat to drip away, but Schwartz says diners and some chain restaurants tend to use flattop grills, which means the food sits in a pool of grease and soaks up fat. Ask your server if the restaurant uses a flame or flat-top grill, and then decide if you'd rather have your meat cooked another way, says Schwartz.
The "Better Choice" Dessert
If you've decided to order a treat, don't compromise. You'll not only feel as if you missed out on what you really wanted, but you may accidentally order something even more
fattening. Let's say you're dying for a piece of flourless chocolate cake but you feel like the pear tart would be healthier (it's got fruit, right?). Gensler found an example of a slice of chocolate cake with 234 calories and 11 grams of fat, compared to a pear tart with 340 calories and 17 grams of fat (the tart was bigger, and most likely made with more butter). If you're craving ice cream but wonder if flan or gelato would be wiser, go with your gut: 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream has 145 calories and 8 grams saturated fat, and the same amount of flan has 220 calories and 6 grams of fat. Gelato also has less fat than ice cream—but more calories. This is a numbers game that's not worth playing, so satisfying your cravings with just one creamy, velvety scoop.
Healthier versions of your favorite fast foods
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