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Decoding Restaurant Menus: Words to Avoid for Healthy Eating

By    |   Wednesday, 05 November 2014 03:06 PM

Counting calories and curbing carbs is vastly more difficult to do, when you’re dining out. That’s because restaurant menus are designed to whet your appetite, but not necessarily tell you whether the foods they're serving are healthy.

To help consumers, CNN has come up with the following dietary cheat sheet to help restaurant goers decode menu descriptions and identify which meals may have hidden calories, high carbohydrates, or too much fat or salt — linked to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

Fried foods: If you want to avoid artery-clogging fried foods, look for menu words like crunchy, battered, crispy, breaded, crusted, golden, or tempura.
High-sugar foods: Cakes, pies, and donuts on a menu are pretty clearly sugary treats. But other foods that may be high in sugar are those labeled as Teriyaki style, BBQ’d, glazed, sticky or honey-dipped. You should also be aware that carbs turn into sugar when they are broken down by your digestive system. The usual suspects are items like pasta, potatoes and rice, but even menu items like "healthy" couscous, quinoa and faro are high in carbs and should be eaten with the same moderation as traditional offerings.
High-calorie foods: Menu items described as loaded, stuffed, creamy, cheesy, gooey, smothered, melted, rich and velvety are almost always high-calorie foods.
Healthier options: Restaurants that specialize in foods that are "made-to-order" or that focus on locally sourced foods will likely have more healthy options. Look for menu items that are roasted, poached, baked, or grilled.

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Restaurant menus are designed to whet your appetite, but not necessarily tell you whether the foods they're serving are healthy. But understanding certain menu 'code words' can help you make a wise choice.
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Wednesday, 05 November 2014 03:06 PM
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