Simple ways to dine healthier in Los Angeles

Carol Sadler, Registered Nutritionist, has been travelling through the south west coast of America, stopping at Los Angeles before moving on to the Canyons and Las Vegas, and sampling new foods en route.  For Carol, it has been quite an informative adventure in American dining.  She shares some of her experiences and insights on how to achieve healthier dining when travelling through the south west coast of America.

Small is Beautiful – but  it can be pricey as well! Seafood in LA iStock_000000752669_Small

Modest serving sizes tend to contain better quality ingredients. Beautiful fresh shrimp and seafood shipped over from the East coast, berries and soft fruits, Wagu beef at eye watering prices plus every international genre of cuisine, is available in large population centres.

I adored nutty granola with Greek style yoghurt and berries, simple eggs ‘over medium’ on toasted sour dough is great and for pure indulgence, French toasted brioche with maple syrup and fruit.

The humble beef burger can be a work of art and salads are often a carnival of tastes and textures. 

Beet, Goat Cheese and Pomegranate Salad and seeds in bowlKale and Beets – no longer just to feed cattle over the winter. The rise in awareness of polyphenol rich dark green leaves and deep red beetroot has elevated these foods onto the menu of fashionable Los Angeles’ restaurants – albeit in the ‘baby’ form. Rocket is old hat now, red peppers and watermelon are equally valid nutritionally, but the stars on every trendy menu are the soft young kale and beets. The tough, larger versions are still popular as feed for livestock.

Watch out for ‘hard to resist’ calories you didn’t think you ordered

Many meals start with a serving of corn chips with salsa. These can be very salty and bland, or homemade and delicious. Either way, they are often replaced with another bowl when the first one is empty. That is a lot of extra calories and salt before we even start on the main course.

Huge Portions

Stodge is cheap. Some over-sized servings are just that, but not all, many are good tasty fare, served in a portion large enough for a few people. Giant LA large portions 20150216_094558pizzas, excessive amounts of rice, beans and cheese with a main Mexican meal, a burger or steak big enough to take a day and a half to digest, are regular features.  See photo on right, another dinners dish of Chili Huevos Rancheros

A glance at the locals reveal the options available:

Eat the lot and diet when we get home. The overly efficient waiters will be longing to clear the table. The expression you hear is ‘Are you still working on that?’ It is past being a pleasure to eat a massive portion, it has become work!

Have the food packaged ‘to go’. People order meals with the express intention of taking half home to eat later.

Share with a friend. Only order one main course and two plates.

Only order starters. Don’t even attempt to order a main course if you can see from other diners’ plates that it will be oversized.

 Miscellaneous ExtrasTrail mix iStock_000019681130_Small

Tea and coffee translate differently in south west America compared to the UK.  I always carry my own tea and never get used to the large mugs of weak filter coffee.

Porridge is mostly the old school variety, made with water. Even with a side of berries and sugar I struggle to eat it.

The look of a place can be misleading, some of the best places look tacky and some of the worst, have stunning views, high prices and ordinary food. Always do your homework and check review sites.

The range of food outlets available in cities is immense. Remote locations have very little choice, some have quirky local cafes, but many have only fast food franchises. Trail mix, fruit and water are invaluable on a long road trip.

Enjoy your next trip!

©  Extravitality 2015

Author: Carol Sadler PhD
Carol is a Nutrition Consultant. She counsels in diet and lifestyle change at Surrey Cardiovascular Clinic where clients have been referred by the clinic cardiologists. Prior to this Carol worked in private practice in Dubai for nine years, where she had various media engagements including Emirates Radio 2 Lifestyle Show monthly ‘phone-in’ on nutrition topics; Gulf News Friday Magazine (weekend supplement) monthly nutrition letter answered; City7 TV appearances on Breakfast Television and Lifestyle Show commenting on nutrition topics. Contributions to local magazines, and organizations, eg Rheumatoid Arthritis Group, Grazia Magazine, Living in the Gulf magazine. She continues to write nutrition articles and blogs, recently writing for Reader’s Digest, and HASTE Academy heart health charity and provides talks on diet issues. Carol is a member of The Nutrition Society, a Registered Nutritionist at the Association for Nutrition, Registration No. 912 and a member of SENSE (self employed consultant Nutritionists group for professional development).

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