It can be hard to avoid the carbs when you’e eating out. No matter if it’s mod-oz, fusion, Asian, Italian, Middle-Eastern, or pub grub the noodles, garlic mash, chips, bread, rice and pasta dishes can be hard to avoid. I’ve been diligently studying menus to find the best options. Some cuisine types are of course easier than others-it’s hard to avoid carbs at the local Chinese or when you’re doing Yum Cha.
These are some of the finds I’ve encountered on menus:
Oysters-gourmet and delicious and barely a carb in sight.
Prawn cocktail-now you might mock these as a ’70s relic but they’re on the way back in lots of guises. The best is where there are just prawns and the cocktail sauce is on the side. There’s often a lot of sugar in sauces.
Charcuterie/antiPasto Plates As long as you can resist the bread that accompanies these dishes the rest of the stuff is pretty low carb. Olives, prosciutto, cheeses, terrines, pickled things. Not low calorie exactly but delicious and if you share a plate it’s not too bad.
Soups, there are obviously soups that are heavy on noodles (laksa anyone?) or potato but generally even a minestrone (with a little pasta and beans) is pretty low carb. Vegetable/chicken broths and any clear soup is low carb.
Grilled, bbq’d, pan fried, baked fish and seafood. Get green veggies and/or a salad. Seafood soups such as bouillabaisse
If you’re going Italian, you’ll want to give the pizza and pasta a miss but real Italian mains tend to be quite low carb, generally lots of meat or fish. Veal scallopine, saltimbucco, or meat or fish dishes in a tomato or creamy sauce. My local Italian does a great seafood “pot” lots of lovely pieces of white fish, calamari, mussels and other bits and pieces in a garlicy, ‘tomatoish’ sauce. Delicious-it comes with a tiny bit of flatbread that I can’t resist eating to sop up the sauce. It’s heaps healthier and lower carb compared to the pizza or pasta options.
Asian food covers such a diversity it’s really crazy to lump them together-but I’m going to. It’s hard to eat at most Asian restaurants in Australia, without dosing up on carbs, Chinese restaurants (usually Cantonese) often use quite heavy sauces-sweetened and/or thickened with carbs, battered meats and seafoods and I’m not convinced that you can truly eat Chinese without having fried rice-can you?
Some options that don’t totally blow the low carb ethos are Thai soups such as Tom Yum, steamed vegetables in soy sauce, whole steamed fish with herbs and spices, satay, snake beans with pork, stir-fries, steamboat -you can pick your own meat, seafood and veggies to cook-sometimes comes with noodles but you don’ have to eat them. Miso soup isn’t bad and sashimi is great (just don’t be tempted by the sushi-it’s a high GI bomb).