The average restaurant dish has an estimated 1000+ calories. But that’s not really what I’m talking about because we all know how to avoid such a dish.
What I’ve noticed is that the trend that’s sweeping Toronto right now, the tapas, the small sharing plate restaurants that encourage us to order a small feast of very rich food that could be causing us to gain weight because conventional ordering wisdom just doesn’t apply to these types of restaurants serving this type of food.
Don’t get me wrong – I have absolutely nothing against going out for a delicious dinner with friends and ordering rich food to try. Going out with friends and tasting delicious food is one of the great joys of life. I am just pointing this out in case you, like me, have been wondering why you come home feeling grossly full or incredibly hungry (and in need of a late night burrito) after such a dinner. Here are my deep thoughts:
1. The food is very, very rich. Many of the small plates read like food dares and we end up ordering things that we would never otherwise order because, hey, it’s just a small plate. In Toronto right now, there are several fancy versions of the Big Mac that feature homemade processed cheese. Lots of small plates are heavily salted, deep fried and covered with mayo or foie gras and truffle this or that.
2. It’s hard to tell how much you ate. There are a few potential reasons for this: 1) we have no idea what size the dish will be, as some are only named ‘cauliflower’, 2) everything comes out as it’s ready and we never see everything at once, 3) we end up eating fast because we’re sharing with our friends. Have you ever tried to share a bowl of truffle fries between four people? You will burn your mouth eating handfuls of fries hot from the fryer, if you’re anything like me and my friends.
3. Blame it on the a-a-a-a-alcohol. Bartenders and sommeliers create the wine and cocktail list to complement the food. While this is obviously a great thing, it can also mean that we end up eating and drinking more than we would have planned. A sweet cocktail makes us want something salty but then the salty food makes us thirsty and so we order another cocktail. Do you see where I’m going with this?
So what to do?
Don’t stop going to these restaurants altogether because the food is usually delicious. If you’re going to a small plate resto, don’t show up starving and be mindful of the cocktails you’re consuming. Remember, everything can exist in moderation. Here’s what I try to incorporate:
Eat like a nutritionist. If you like to go out to eat, be sure to follow me on just-introduced-to-Toronto Zomato. I publish semi-regular reviews of restaurants and provide tips for healthier ordering. Feel free to follow.
Host dinner parties at home. They’re cheaper and healthier! The amazing David Lester and I teamed up this weekend to cook a holiday dinner party. Check back this week for a recap of our hilarious healthy delicious dinner on a dime.
Detox. This January, my popular New Year’s Reset Cleanse returns. You know you want to detox with me.