Food Talk And Fabulous Finds Recipes, Healthy Cooking, and General Food Topics

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Old 09-03-2012, 01:38 PM   #1  
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Default How do foodies do it?

I really love food. I love a great dining experience. Does anyone have hints and tips on how to still enjoy the dining experience, yet eat healthy?
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Old 09-03-2012, 02:23 PM   #2  
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Ask for half of the meal to be packed away in a take-home box before it even hits the table.
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Old 09-03-2012, 02:28 PM   #3  
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When possible, review menus online before you go. Pre-select items that will allow you to stay within your plan, or at least as close as possible.
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Old 09-03-2012, 02:41 PM   #4  
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Hubby and I are finding that we're having far more fun as foodies, at home than in restaurants. Unless a restaurant makes a dish we can't make at home, or wouldn't want to because of the time involved, we make meals at home instead.

I've also transferred some of my foodie obsessions from restaurant food, to market food. Shopping for the best produce in the farmers markets, shopping for the most exotic fruits in the ethnic markets, browsing the pickle and condiment aisles in the upscale markets, and borrowing cookbooks from the library on every available culture and food style.
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Old 09-03-2012, 02:57 PM   #5  
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I second putting half in a to go box from the get go. Most meals have more than one serving
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Old 09-03-2012, 03:22 PM   #6  
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You can't go wrong with the taking half away in a box. I cut my food in half from the start so I know what I'm taking away and what I'm eating.

Also, there's calorie counts for a surprising number of restaurants online. I also recommend the Eat this! Not that series, which deals with chain restaurants really well.

If I'm going to a restaurant that's independently owned and I have no idea what the calorie count might be, I check the count for several similar foods from chain restaurants. It's not precise, but it's good to know if you're eating closer to 500 or closer to 1000 calories.
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Old 09-03-2012, 03:48 PM   #7  
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What Kaplods said. Key, for me, is "transferring the obsession". I don't seem to be fully happy unless I have an obsession going on. I call it a "passion". LOL. Anyway, certainly taking half your food home for tomorrow's meal is good. Cooking at home with a loved one who shares your "foodie" interests is priceless.
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Old 09-03-2012, 05:31 PM   #8  
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Originally Posted by gailr42 View Post
What Kaplods said. Key, for me, is "transferring the obsession". I don't seem to be fully happy unless I have an obsession going on. I call it a "passion". LOL. Anyway, certainly taking half your food home for tomorrow's meal is good. Cooking at home with a loved one who shares your "foodie" interests is priceless.

Hubby and I are actually having far more priceless moments with our healthier food passions (passion is a better word, after all what's a passion but a healthy obsession).

When we went for the cheap thrills of high-fat restaurant food, we'd have great fun for an hour or two and then we'd get home and food coma would set in. Then we learned that our un was killing us, because hubby is diabetic, I've got multiple health problems. We eventually learned that sugar, wheat, and grains/carbs in general were triggers for my fibromyalgia and autoimmune symptoms.

At first we thought the food fun had to be over (because everyone knows that a healthy diet is a boring one, right? And even though I already KNEW better, part of my brain agreed).

It took a while to transfer passions, but now we have more fun than we ever did on a high-fat, high-carb diet, because not only is the food fun, we don't fall into food coma so the fun isn't over for the rest of the day (or have other health issue symptoms going on).

I am losing very slowly, because of some of the higher calorie foods I'm not willing to give up yet (or maybe ever) but that isn't the worst thing in the world.

It's also important to remember (whether making food yourself, or going out) that great tasting food doesn't have to be highly caloric. Some of my absolute favorite foods are very low in calorie. Thai and other indonesian foods are often quite low in calorie (if you follow traditional recipes, and not Americanized high-fat versions).

I love laab (ground meat salad) and papaya salad (which isn't sweet papaya, it's unripe papaya, which ends up tasting a bit like a bit fishy and VERY garlicky, spicy cole slaw).

We had so much fun at a local thai restaurant, discussing food with the owner and her husband that we became very good friends with the family. The owner even came to our house to give me cooking lessions.

I remember when I first ordered papaya salad, she was reluctant to make it for me, because I was the first Anglo person to order it, and she wasn't sure I'ld like it. She offered to cut back on the peppers, garlic, and fish sauce, and instead I asked her to make it how she would make it for herself, and if I didn't like it, I'd ask for modifications to my tastes next time. Even though it was so strong, I wasn't sure if I did like it, I ended up becoming addicted to the stuff.

We tend to associate good food with high-calorie food, and it really doesn't have to be, but you do have to pay much closer to ingredients, which in restaurants tend to translate into very, very expensive.

There are a few restaurants locally that speciallize in using fresh, healthy, high-quality ingredients, and all of them are way out of our budget for eating out (even if we hadn't been decent cooks, we would have had to learn to be).

Ironically, we actually pay less for the best ingredients during the summer, mostly because we have earned a reputation from the vendors as loyal, but buget conscious customers. By being friendly, polite, and generous with our praise of the vendors' products, we end up being gifted with produce "to try." On Saturday we visited our local farmers' market, and we saved our favorite vendor for last.

The elderly Hmong couple have been extremely good to us. We tell them how much we love their veggies and what we did with them, and they give us discounts and freebies that are almost criminal. We left with probably $40 in veggies for $6 (hubby slipped in $4 more, by folding the money so it looked like less, and he rushed me away so that the owner wouldn't have time to count the money before we left).

It was hard to estimate the true value of the food, because grocery stores don't even carry the types of heirloom and exotic veggies she does. She had a new veggie (every year they plant new and interesting varieties) a beautiful blue snakemean. It was cream colored, with thin streaky stripes of blue). She broke off pieces for us to try and threw in a bundle free to try. The bean had tasted so sweet raw (she told us yes, she often does eat them raw) that I bought another bundle in addition to the free bundle. I think she only charged us $2 per bundle (which looked to be about a pound).

We had just come from the grocery store where green beans (wilted and ugly) were being sold for $4.99 a pound.

She saves tiny baby red and yukon gold potatoes for us (most Anglo farmers don't even sell these, they use them for seed only). From the size of peas to the size of grapes, these are awesome (she washes them so well before selling, that I only have to rinse them well and pick out a stick or two). And they're great for a carb-reduced diet, because the fiber to digestible carb ratio is higher.

She threw in about two pounds of vine-ripened roma tomatoes free, regular price $2 (which at the grocery store were $5.99 per pound).

I bought beautiful white eggplants, streaked with purple stripes. I paid $2 for the bunch I bought (and after mentioning I hadn't tried this variety, she threw in another bundle for free).

And she also threw in some free hot peppers, when I bought a box of sweet peppers (her sweet and hot peppers are amazing, and I've never seen anything remotely like them in the stores for less than $6 per pound - she charges $1).

Not everyone is going to have access to afarmers market like this, or vendors like this, but it does pay to be friendly and complimentary to farmers' market vendors and other food sellers, not just because it gets you free stuff, but because it makes the whole foodie experience that much more enjoyable and exciting. People who love food, talking about the food they love. And you can tell the people who sell food because they love it from the people for whom raising food is just a job.

Going to a farmers' market really for us is more like going to a trade show. We spent 20 minutes at a salsa/relish makers booth, because we had loved their product so much, we were talking it up to the other customers (you couldn't PAY for advertising like that). The vendor doesn't have to know that I'm secretly trying to duplicate his relish recipe so I don't have to pay $5 per pint, though even if I do he still will have our business with the products we love that I don't have any interest in learning to make myself (I don't really "do" producsts that require a lot of work with hot peppers, because I've had too many kitchen disasters working with super hot peppers in large quantities).

As you can tell from this post, I can talk about food all day. And even by concentrating on healthy, low-calorie foods, there STILL is no limit to the possibilities. We still do enjoy rich foods occasionally, but less and less often the more great low-cal foods we find.

Last edited by kaplods; 09-03-2012 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:27 AM   #9  
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It's a good question for famous chefs like Giada di Laurentis or Gordon Ramsay. They work around food everyday but stay slim. They and other chefs attribute it to exercise and eating only a little of what they like. At the end of the day it really does come down to portion control.

When I go out I like to order an appetizer as an entree and a salad. It's quite a bit of food but usually entrees themselves are big enough for 2-3 people!
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:22 PM   #10  
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kaplods said it brilliantly. I channel my 'foodie' instincts into shopping for fresh veggies at the farmer's market, or the farm-to-table store, and searching out new local foods and cooking at home.

When I eat out, I worry about calories and portions at chain restaurants, researching them before I go. But if I go to a non-chain restaurant, I made a decision based on the menu and my desires that day and don't regret it.

Here's the thing, most 'fine-dining' restaurants locally do NOT have huge portions of food. Appetizers and dinners are usually reasonably sized, although I have been known to do the appetizer and salad thing, if there is an appetizer I particularly want to try (and/or none of the entrees suit my taste). The comfort-food oriented local restaurants are a different story - they do huge portions just like the chains and are always more of a challenge.

Mind, I live in a small town AND I'm a vegetarian. I prefer local places to chains, and can avoid the local burger joints since - vegetarian. But I have been out for very nice meals while losing weight, both locally and on short trips, and if they are occasional, I pay attention to what I'm eating, avoid deep fried stuff, get my dressing on the side, but otherwise: don't particularly worry about it.
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:33 PM   #11  
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Also, most places will accomodate special dietary recquests (i.e. no oil, no butter, no dairy, etc.).
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:24 PM   #12  
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Originally Posted by mnemosyne View Post
kaplods said it brilliantly. I channel my 'foodie' instincts into shopping for fresh veggies at the farmer's market, or the farm-to-table store, and searching out new local foods and cooking at home.
Yep. I do the same. I just scour more markets, and try more unknown ingredients in my cooking. It's a blast.
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:24 PM   #13  
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It's simple... it comes down to having small portions of foods... There is no law that says you have to eat everything on a plate... eat at restaurants that simply don't have "doggy bags" or "to go boxes" God I would love to see the look that you would get if you asked for a "to go box" at the beginning of a meal at Daniel or Le Bernardin... it's simple... DON'T BE THAT PERSON...

You don't have to give up being a "foodie" just because you're trying to lose some weight... actually being a "foodie" might help you avoid all the the complete crap that "passes" for food in this country...
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