The #1 Thing To Avoid While Dining Out

I like to think that I fall into the category of being a serious foodie. Admittedly, I’m not as culinarily-inclined as some folks in this town, but I take pride in trying all the latest and greatest restaurants. If you are familiar with the NYC dining scene, you know that keeping up with all the new openings takes serious commitment and a lot of eating! And it’s usually not eating of the healthful kind. In fact, it can get quite gluttonous.

You may be wondering, how do I eat so many indulgent foods (read: foie gras, bacon, lobster mac ‘n cheese, bacon, eggs benedict, and well, bacon) but manage to stay on the slender(ish) side? It’s a good question, and one for which I have a simple answer.

In fact, it all boils down to 1 thing–a simple secret that’s easy to follow, doesn’t require counting points (math is not my forte), or keeping a food diary. If you’re like me and apply this 1 easy rule when dining out, you can order what you want and enjoy it without feeling guilty.

The Fine Print…Just a Little

Ready for the disclaimer? This is not a hallpass to hit the all-you-can-eat buffet with reckless abandon. You still need to watch your portion size and continue to exercise–whether it’s regularly hitting the gym, playing catch with Fido, or biking to work.

Alright, no more disclaimers. You want me to blurt it out already? I can take it hint. Here it comes…

The Secret, Revealed

The #1 thing to avoid while dining out is…the sauce. It’s that easy. No matter what you order (even if it’s a salad), just ask for the sauce on the side. If you don’t, the restaurant is likely to add a lot more than you need, thereby adding A LOT more calories without much incremental flavor.

Want Eggs Benedict for brunch? Order it. Love every bite of it. Just get the hollandaise on the side.

Hungry for steak? Get the filet mignon and ask for the red-wine reduction on the side. Done. Check.

Lobster Ravioli finished in a butter cream sauce? Ummmm, this is a no brainer…

Scallops sauteed in a lemon sauce (this is typically a “brown-butter” lemon sauce). Seafood is healthy, but you gotta get the sauce on the side.

Chicken satay with a peanut dipping sauce? Luckily, this one already comes on the side.

Anyhow, you get my point.  Sauce on the Side…”SotS” for short. Once your dish arrives at the table (with the sauce on the side), drizzle a little on your meal–just enough to make it palatable and impart some flavor. Most of the time, if you’re eating at a good restaurant, the ingredients should be high-quality enough to be tasty on their own.

So what’s the #1 thing to do when you’re dining out?

SotS. But you already know that by now.