What to Eat and What to Avoid at a Steakhouse

A big night out at a steakhouse can be a great way to splurge and indulge in some rich food. But there are options available that offer greater health benefits and fewer calories, while staying true to that big flavor factor. Patricia Bannan, registered dietitian and author of "Eat Right When Time is Tight," shows you how to enjoy a delicious steak dinner without straying too far from your diet

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    Appetizers Order This Oysters are an excellent source of absorbable iron, with six of these shellfish containing 31 percent of your daily value which adds up to only 57 calories. Stick with the mignonette sauce as a topping, which is light and low in calories due to a vinegar base.
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    Appetizers Skip This Crab cakes, calamari, oysters Rockefeller- they're all delicious, but anything fried or mixed with bread crumbs is going to be much higher in fat and calories, without having much extra nutrition. Most of these will come with a high-fat sauce like a remoulade, which is just like slathering on full-fat mayonnaise.
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    Salads Order This A caprese salad with tomato, mozzarella and basil has a lot of health benefits. Cheese is a great source of calcium. Two tablespoons of basil contain a quarter of your daily value for vitamin K, which is important for blood and bone health. And tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, which is an important antioxidant and recent research shows may be protective against cataracts.
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    wedge salad

    Salads Skip This Iceberg lettuce may be low in calories, but it also lacks vitamins and fiber. When eating out, high-fat creamy dressing and bacon are typically used to elevate the flavor of the rather bland green, so there aren't many redeeming qualities about this dish.
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    Sides Order This At a steakhouse, side dish choices are more likely to include vegetable options. Fortunately, asparagus is a staple at these establishments and it is loaded with health benefits. One serving contains more than half your daily value for folic acid and has only 25 calories. Skip the hollandaise sauce topping and save seven grams of artery-clogging fat per tablespoon.
    Courtesy Zarela Martinez
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    potato bar, super bowl slideshow

    Sides Skip This Although potatoes have some positive attributes, any health benefits will be overshadowed by the various preparations you see on a typical steakhouse menu. There's everything from one pound potatoes served up with sour cream and bacon, to au gratin style potatoes, which are loaded with cheese and bread crumbs, to the popular lyonnaise potato, which is cooked with onions and loads of butter or grease. Ordering a potato can amount in far more calories and fat than the largest steak on the menu!
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    Steak Order This Assuming you are here for the steak, the most important thing to keep in mind is portion control. A serving of protein is three to four ounces, but many steaks on the menu can clock in at 12 ounces and beyond. A petit filet is five ounces and will run about 350 calories, but if you vastly prefer larger cuts, you should take half home and use it on a sandwich for lunch. Another alternative is to look into lamb- lamb chops are easy to share and loaded with healthy omega 3 fatty acids.
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    steak with béarnaise sauce

    Steak Skip This Even if you order the tiniest serving on the menu, you can blow your calorie count out of the water with one small addition: béarnaise. Made with butter and egg yolks, two tablespoons of this rich sauce contains 14 grams of fat and 120 calories—and you can bet there will be more than that poured on.
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    Carolans French Cream Cocktail

    Cocktails Skip This Alcohol contains seven calories per gram and fats contain nine calories per gram, so that creamy, boozy, chocolate martini packs more of a hit to your physique than you might expect. Typically made with hard alcohol, cream-based liquor and half-and-half, this tiny drink can easily reach 400 calories- and that doesn't include a chocolate swizzle stick! For that many calories you might as well just order the real thing, as research shows that solid foods are more satisfying than their liquefied counterparts.
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