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February 14th, 2017

Living On F-Factor: Steakhouse Dining

You asked, we listened. Follower question of the week.

Q: I know F-Factor allows dining out, but even at a steakhouse?! How can I stick to my diet there? Do you have any tips for #FFACTORAPPROVED dining at steakhouses? 

A: You’re not miSTEAKen—you can do F-Factor anywhere. Steak and potatoes? This is what comes to most minds when they consider the menus at steakhouses, which can be concerning if you’re watching your waistline. What many people don’t realize is that steak restaurants offer an array of choices—including some of the healthiest menu options that you can find anywhere. The key is knowing how to order wisely.  You know longer have to fear the fate of your healthy diet upon hearing that your next business dinner or blind date will take place at a steak restaurant. From Mastro’s to The Palm, from Morton’s to Capital Grille and Ruth’s Chris—wherever the steakhouse, we’ve got you covered with these tips. Here’s our guide for eating for weight loss, the #FFACTORAPPROVED way, at steakhouses

START WITH AN APPETIZER

Many people avoid ordering an appetizer as a way to save on overall calories. What people don’t realize is that by ordering a healthy, filling appetizer, you are less likely to overeat after the appetizer, which is typically when most of the calories are consumed anyway. Therefore, ordering a light appetizer sets you up for a filling yet lower-calorie meal. In addition, you have something to nosh on while everyone else is enjoying their more fattening starters and indulging in the breadbasket. Ordering a light, delicious appetizer prevents you from digging into your main dish feeling starved, and helps you to keep your fork out of other people’s plates.

As for what to order for appetizer, there’s always a salad on the menu. Keep it simple and order a mixed green salad with tomato and whatever other raw vegetables the restaurant offers, served with balsamic vinegar and dijon or a squeeze of lemon in lieu of the Caesar salad, and you’ll save yourself 353 calories and 34g of fat. Love caesars? Get the dressing on the side and don’t eat the croutons—you’ll still get the crunch. A classic wedge is also a great option–just be sure to forgo the dressing. Salad not doing it for you? Take a look at the raw bar options—steakhouses usually have an excellent selection of fresh, premium quality seafood options. Shrimp cocktail, oysters on the half shell, stone crab, and tuna tartare are all great sources of clean, lean protein to start your meal off with. 

CHOOSE LEANMEATS

Not all cuts of steak are created equal, and eating healthfully does not have to mean abstaining from red meat altogether.  If you’re in the mood for steak, choose the following: a USDA Select or Choice grade of meat trimmed of fat, such as round, sirloin, flank steak, tenderloin, or filet mignon.  Even better, most steak restaurants offer at least one chicken, fish, lobster, or crab entree; all of which are totally delicious and are among the leanest and healthiest meats that you can eat.

WATCH THE PORTION SIZES

All restaurants are notorious for serving very large portions, however steak restaurants may be the worst offenders of them all! Though there are some very healthy options available on the menu at steak restaurants, it is always possible to have too much of a good thing.  The recommended portion size for a meat entree is 4 to 6 ounces, and many restaurants offer portions as large as 24 ounces!!!!  A 6oz filet mignon contains 330 calories, while a 24oz is 1,320 calories.  And let’s say you order lobster, which is one of the leanest meats—some restaurants carry lobsters that are up to 5 pounds, which contains 2,800 calories. However if you split the 5 pound lobster and eat 6 ounces of it, you will have consumed only 210 calories. So, yes, go ahead and “consider the lobster!”

CHOOSE SIDE ORDERS WISLEY

There are so many delicious side dishes offered at steak restaurants, and once again, ordering wisely can save you hundreds of calories without making you sacrifice flavor or fullness. Avoid the fried potatoes and onion rings (as tempting as they might be) and take this opportunity to add some fiber to your meal by ordering vegetables such as leafy greens, cauliflower, or asparagus, either steamed or lightly sautéed.

BE MINDFUL OF SAUCES

Even your best efforts to eat and order wisely can be sabotaged by the addition of a high calorie, fat-laden sauce.  Stick to vinegar if you order a salad, which contains around 30 calories and 0g fat per tablespoon vs. a creamy dressing, which can add up to 200 extra calories and around 17g of fat. A squeeze of lemon and some salt is delicious and low in calories as well. For your vegetables and meat entrees, steer clear of béarnaise, hollandaise, tartar, creamy mustard sauce, and drawn butter. Instead, opt for cocktail sauce, dijon, steak sauce, and bordelaise sauce.

DON’T BLOW IT ON DESSERT

Now that you’ve gotten through your whole steakhouse dinner eating healthfully, now is not the time to fall off the horse or cow (yes, even it you’re at Mastros, and even if it is the butter cake!) Although steakhouses are notorious for having decadent desserts such as cheesecake, chocolate cake, and apple pie, most also offer an assortment of sorbet and/or mixed fresh berries. Our favorite dessert? An #F-FACTORAPPROVED cocktail or glass of wine. It takes some willpower, but you will be happier in the long-run. Rather than having to be rolled out of the restaurant, you can rest assured you’ve done your body and your waistline good by following these simple tips!