While many appetizers get a bad rap for being deep fried and loaded with sodium, they also can be a healthy way to start your meal.
In general, it would depend on what the appetizer is and what you are ordering for your entrée. Pairing two high calorie, high fat items together is not the healthiest strategy when dining out. While many appetizers get a bad rap for being deep fried and loaded with sodium, they also can be a healthy way to start your meal. Look for appetizers that are not fried and focus on fruit, vegetables and/or lean protein. Such appetizers could range anywhere from a simple house salad or fruit bowl to a side of shrimp cocktail or oysters on the half shell to a cup of minestrone or vegetable soup. Having an appetizer can help to slow down the pace of your dinner, allowing you to listen to your body and know when to stop eating. It can also tide you over so you aren’t starving when your meal arrives, which will help you to make your best judgment about portion sizes. You might find that after starting your meal with a healthy appetizer, most of your meal will end up boxed in a to-go container. Some Healthy Dining-approved appetizers include:
- Clams on the Half Shell from Palm Restaurant (160 calories, 1 g fat)
- Side: Shiitake Mushroom Bun from Rickshaw Dumpling Bar (110 calories, 1.5 g fat)
- Chicken Tortilla Soup (Bowl) from Outback Steakhouse (220 calories, 8 g fat)
- Appetizer: Fresh Watermelon and Feta Salad from BJ’s Restaurant (70 calories, 2.5 g fat)