General starters or light meals
- Salads with no dressing or mayonnaise (use vinegar or lemon juice) - avoid bacon, croutons and cheeses. Instead try smoked chicken, smoked salmon, tuna or seafood, Greek, etc. A French salad is the lowest in fat and is ideal especially if you are planning to have protein (meat or cheese) in your main dish.
- Stock-based soups or thick vegetable soups with no cream garnish.
- Fresh bread with smoked salmon or tsatziki.
- Fruit cocktails, melon balls or fruit platters
- In general, it is a safer option to order plain separate food items, such as grilled fish, baked potato and steamed vegetables, rather than combination dishes such as lasagna or mousaka. Combination dishes are often made with sauces, which are usually high in fat.
- Pastas with tomato based sauce rather than a cream or cheese based sauce - often it is advisable to order the pasta and sauce separately so that if it looks too oily, you can use just a little sauce and fill up on the pasta. Or, better still, remember to ask for no oil or cream and have chicken, salmon, ham, seafood, mushroom, vegetables, herbs, garlic, chili, etc. For a strong cheese flavor, add one teaspoon of Parmesan cheese.
- Order your pizza with half the cheese or even with no cheese - have toppings like tomato (fresh or sun-dried), onion, green pepper, garlic, chili, mushrooms, asparagus, ham, pineapple, banana, chicken, peppadews, sprinkling of feta, spinach, olives, egg, tuna, anchovies, seafood - avoid salami, bacon, sausage, mince and cheese. A sprinkling of feta with the above fillings and no mozzarella is very tasty.
- If ordering steak, have it plain or with a barbecue sauce (no creamy sauces) and choose a fillet, sirloin or T-bone rather than a rump - remember to only eat your allowed quota of protein (your pet will enjoy the rest!). It is often a good idea to order the ladies portion. If there is no option, then as soon as they bring your steak, cut it in half and send it away to be put straight into a doggy bag before your childhood-developed habit of cleaning your plate lets you down.
- Order grilled or poached fish rather than a fish in a batter and have the white, lower fat fish like hake, sole, kingklip,etc. rather than the oily fish like salmon, mackerel, snoek, butterfish, etc.
- Grilled seafood is also a good option without the mayonnaise’s or tartar sauce. Ask for your crayfish or prawns to be boiled or grilled with no fat and squeeze fresh lemon over them.
- Vegetarian options are often fried or covered in cheese sauces, so check with your waitress/waiter.
- Have steamed rice, baked potatoes (no butter or sour cream, most restaurants do have cottage cheese) or steamed vegetables instead of chips, fried rice or roast potatoes with your meal. Avoid sauces and gravies. If your meal arrives covered in sauce, eat the meat, rice, etc. and try to leave as much of the sauce behind as possible.
- Sushi is a popular low fat option.
A peppermint is often a easy way of getting rid of a after-dinner sweet tooth (its like brushing your teeth), so grab one on your way to the bathroom while everyone else is ordering desert.
The following are all low fat desserts:
- cappuccino with a milk froth (skimmed or low fat preferably)
- creme caramel
- frozen yogurt
- fruit salad with yoghurt
- sorbet or low fat ice-cream
- fruit mousse
- strawberries and meringues
The following ideas may not be on the menu, but there is no reason why they can't be prepared for you.
- Two poached eggs on toast (no margarine or butter) with a grilled or fresh tomato (condiments such as tomato sauce, Worcester sauce and HP sauce are fine to use). I often ask for scrambled eggs on toast using as little fat as possible to scramble the eggs. (In fact, if they microwave the eggs or have a non-stick fry pan, they don’t need any fat.) Be warned, many restaurants add cream to their scrambled egg mixture so make sure you check.
- Anchovy toast (no margarine or butter) – this is very nice with fresh slices of tomato or herbs on top.
- Bran muffin plain or with jam.
- Flapjacks or crumpets with syrup.
- Fruit salad plain or with yoghurt.
- Toast with jam or marmalade (no margarine)
- Fruit juice, tea or coffee with fat free or low fat milk. If the restaurant does not have low fat milk, then avoid cappuccinos, café late’s and other milky hot drinks.
Takeaways or light meals
- Hamburger with no sauce (except tomato, barbecue or chili sauce) - no chips or cheese - a chicken patty is better (especially if flame-grilled). Remember to ask for it to be flame-grilled with no fat as they often add fat before flame grilling as well as requesting they do not put mayonnaise on the roll.
- Soup (not cream-based) and bread roll.
- Baked potato with cottage cheese or tuna or chicken (no mayonnaise).
- Sandwich (roll, bread, pita or bagel) with beef or ham and mustard (no processed meats) or avocado, cottage cheese, chicken or tuna with salad and pickles (no margarine or mayonnaise).
- Wraps made with chicken and salad or stir-fried beef and vegetables – avoid dressings.