Going out to eat when you’re trying to eat healthy is like trying to walk through a calorie minefield. Restaurants tend to cook with fat, add ridiculous amounts of sodium all to make the food taste good. Yes it’s good for business when you have customers coming back, but what is the cost on the customer’s health?   I wrote about this in my book The Bonollo Diet that can be found on Amazon (shameless plug I know). Some larger chains have the nutritional information on the website which helps but how often can you eat at those places and not dabble in the smaller mom and pop places.

Since people love going out to dinner, myself included, I figured I’d put a list of buzz words that makes the website look fancy but actually hides caloric bombs.


The bad ways to cook:

  • Au gratin- fancy French talk for breaded topping of egg, cheese, butter and breadcrumbs which equals a good dose of extra calories and fat.
  • Battered- coated in usually flour and deep fried.
  • Braised- Long story short it means the food is cooked in fat for hours. I don’t need to say anymore.
  • Buttered- Shocker! There is butter added. (Jaw drops.)
  • Confit- the meat was salted and cooked in it’s own fat.
  • Crispy ,crunchy- nice way of saying fried in oil. Crunchy is bad when it is describing anything other than veggies.
  • Fried or deep fried- obvious I know. Adds more fat and calories.
  • Fritters- battered and deep fried.
  • Golden- fried
  • Pan fried or pan roasted- uses oil to keep food moist while cooking. Slightly better than deep fried but still not a good option.
  • Refried- usually used with beans. Means the beans are mashed and fried in fat.
  • Roux- a flour and fat mixture used to thicken soups and sauces
  • Sauteed- this is on the fence. To sautee is to cook quickly in fat or oil but it depends what type of oil or butter is used to determine on which side of the fence this falls.
  • Scalloped- thinly sliced potatoes cooked in cream and butter and topped with cheese.
  • Scampi- cooked in a garlic and butter sauce
  • Stroganoff- usually beef stroganoff, sautéed in butter and covered in a cream sauce
  • Tempura- fried


High caloric sauces/soups to stay away from:

  • A la mode- More than likely this means topped with ice cream. Needless to say this is not good for a diet.
  • Aioli- flavored mayo aka flavored fat
  • Bearnaise- butter based sauce
  • Béchamel- a base for a white sauce which is milk stirred into a butter-flour mixture
  • Beurre Blanc- white butter
  • Bisque- soup made with cream
  • Carbonara- sauce made with cream, eggs, parmesan cheese and bacon.
  • Creamed- Fatty fat cream is used more than likely as a sauce topping. Added calories galore!
  • Hollandaise or cheese sauce- Like the creamed sauce above, basically it is liquid fat on top of your food.
  • In gravy- the gravy is more than likely made from the fat drippings of the food.
  • Remoulade- sauce made with mayo
  • Smothered- covered in a fatty sauce or cheese
  • White sauce- aka cream sauce


Good ways to cook:

  • Baked- the food is crispy like fried but without the extra fat and oil.
  • Broiled- the food is heated from above so you can still get that crispy top.
  • Grilled- food is cooked through dry heat which saves on lots on calories.
  • Marinated- the process of soaking meat in an acidic (wine or lemon juice) or enzymatic (pineapple or papaya) liquid before cooking.
  • Poached- the food is simmered in water or wine. Both are lower fat options than butter
  • Roasted- cooked by dry heat, which brings the fat out of the dish much like grilling.
  • Seasoned- it’s a spice/ salt mixture. Some salt can be good and with some water can be passed through your system a lot easier than fats.
  • Steamed- Cooked by steam which considerably cuts down on added fats and calories.
  • Au ju- this fancy French word just means that the food is cooked in it’s own juices minus the fats.


Good ways to describe veggies:

  • Garden fresh – loaded with veggies.
  • Raw, crunchy, fresh – Some veggies lose some of their nutrients when you cook them. If raw is an option for veggies go with it. Some times crunchy is used for veggies which also means they are raw.


Some good sauces to look for:

  • Red Sauce- tomato based sauce.
  • Vinaigrette- mixture of vinegar and oil. The oil is more than likely olive oil.


See you can enjoy life while trying to eat healthy you just have to know a little bit more.