Whether you’re partying, don’t have the time or energy to cook at home, or just want a great meal, eating out at a restaurant is always a good idea (as long as your wallet can handle it). However, ordering the right meal is essential not only to satisfy your taste buds, but also to your overall health. As it turns out, there are some options that health experts warn you might want to steer clear of if you don’t want to jeopardize your health—and some of them may surprise you.
To find out more about which meals to avoid, we spoke to Steve Theunissen, RDN of smart fitness. And according to him, ordering the daily special can send you down a surprisingly slippery slope — and the same goes for some of the other options, too. Read on to find out why!
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While the daily specials may seem like an exciting opportunity to try something delicious that isn’t usually on the menu, Theunissen says there may be some ulterior motives behind these meals. “Don’t order special food today,” he says. “It’s the cheapest thing chefs can put together, stuff that hasn’t been sold for the past few days. Mix it up to hide age, and serve, and it’s the easiest thing for waiters because it’s already made.” Yikes! We’ve never thought of it this way before. This may not seem like the worst thing in the world, but he warns that it can lead to health consequences if you’re not careful. According to Theunissen, “You’re more likely to get food poisoning from today’s food than anything else.” Of course, this is not the case for every restaurant, but it is a good idea to use your best judgment for your overall health.
There’s no denying that this popular brunch is delicious, but Theunissen tells us that raw eggs can be a health hazard—especially when you order them close to lunchtime. “I’m not ordering eggs Benedict,” he says. “This is a sauce made with raw eggs, prepared first thing in the morning. And when you order eggs Benedict at 11:30, it has been sitting there for many hours developing colonies of bad bacteria. And if the cream is in there at room temperature, it’s dangerous!” So, while making some homemade sweets for your eggs Benedict might be a great choice for Sunday brunch, it probably isn’t a good idea to order it at a restaurant where it might be less than fresh.
Items that deviate from the restaurant kitchen
Have you ever ordered pasta in a Mexican restaurant? If so, we’ll bet it wasn’t the tastiest spaghetti I’ve ever had. Theunissen agrees that usually, you should stick to ordering meals that fit the restaurant’s specialty. He says, “You don’t usually order seafood (after a shrimp cocktail appetizer) at a steakhouse; you don’t order chicken Alfredo at a seafood restaurant.” With a few interesting exceptions, if you’re at an ethnic or regional restaurant specifically, don’t order items from Another place – think twice about lasagna at Teppanyaki Japanese restaurant
Saloon, or sushi at the Ethiopian joint. Note! While eating superfoods may not be horrible for your health, it can definitely spoil your dinner.
At the end of the day, of course, what you order when you’re out to eat is up to you. However, if you want to avoid all health risks – or just enjoy the best meal possible – it’s probably best to heed Theunissen’s warnings and stick to safe choices.
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