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Review: Eat This Not That! Restaurant Survival Guide by David Zinczenko

Eat This Not That! Restaurant Survival Guide: The No-Diet Weight Loss SolutionEat This Not That! Restaurant Survival Guide: The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution by David Zinczenko

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book made me want to cook at home even more often than I already do. It really shows how most restaurant meals are horrendously unhealthy, being disproportionately packed with fat and sodium. Restaurants try to fill their meals (especially value menu meals) with cheap, empty calories.

Ideally, people would make their own healthy meals at home, but in reality, Americans eat a lot of meals at restaurants. If you find yourself at a restaurant for a date, special occasion, or client meeting, this book helps you avoid the nutritional minefield. Even though most of the book features meals from specific restaurants, it’s easy to generalize the nutritional advice. The menu decoders in the back of the book are quite helpful in pointing out the healthier options in a variety of menus.

Below are a few notes I made while reading. I’m going to avoid duplicating notes from my reviews of the other Eat This, Not That! books, so read those reviews or read the books yourself!

Restaurant nutrition tips

Mexican: choose vegetables and lean meat. Corn tortillas are better than flour. Beans are better than rice. Black beans are better than refried. Chicken is better than beef. Tacos are usually the best option. Avoid fajitas.

Chinese: choose vegetables instead of rice and noodles. Go light on the sauce. Choose Kung Pao chicken and avoid fried chicken such as General Tso’s chicken, sweet and sour Chicken, cashew chicken, and orange chicken. Avoid egg rolls, egg drop soup, lo mein, and chow mein.

Pizzeria: choose pizza, not pasta. Choose thin crust, because crust is the largest source of calories.

Italian: avoid anything Parmesan.

Nutrition tips
Avoid restaurant freebies like bread, chips, and fries.
Value menus cost you in poor nutrition.
40% of calories should come from carbs, and 30% from protein.

Get Omega-3 fatty acids from fish or fish oil capsules.
Smoothies should have real fruit, with maybe a splash of milk or yogurt.
Wraps are often unhealthier than sandwiches and other dishes.
Muffins are basically cupcakes, and bagels are large round rolls. Avoid both.
Most roast beef is almost as lean as poultry like chicken and turkey.
Choose chicken breast, not wings or thighs.
Avoid shakes and malts.

Most restaurant salads are terrible. Stick to lettuce, vegetables, and lean protein. Greek salads are better than American.
Croissants are usually better than bagels, muffins, and donuts.
Turkey burgers aren’t necessarily healthier than beef; it depends on the amount of fat in the grind.
For coleslaw, choose vinegar-based, not mayo-based.
Deli cheese (best to worst): part-skim mozzarella, provolone, American, Swiss, cheddar.
Peanut butter is better than jam. Jam is usually half sugar and half fruit.
Cantaloupe is high in calories and low in nutrition compared to other fruits.

View all my reviews


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