Do You Know Your Menu Watch Words?

They are small words. They can be easy to miss. They slip off your tongue as you order your food, without even knowing what you are saying. Yet they mean the difference between a healthy or unhealthy meal. What are these unassuming potential land mines? These are your "menu watch words"—and it pays to keep your eye on them.

Going out to eat is a lot of fun. You’re having a good time and you might not always think about what’s best for you. You can avoid the next morning's "Why did I eat that?" hangover by planting a few gentle reminders, well-placed whispers in your ear.

Did you know that consultants travel the country helping restaurants say just the right things on their food menus? Unless you ask the server about the preparation of each item, it’s hard to know for sure what’s really healthy and unhealthy. For example, the word "breaded" can add five times as much fat to your meal as the word "grilled." You can fight back by translating the consultants’ word crafting into something useful. 

Use the watch words below as a guide to finding the right meal to order and knowing which options to skip. Keep in mind, though, that food items can be very healthy or unhealthy regardless of the use of any of these words. For example, "fat-free" food is often packed with sugar and calories to make it taste better. There are times when these words are used to mislead you, which is why we call them "watch words" and not guarantees. It's best to pair this guide with your good judgment to steer clear of the bad stuff. More often than not, you’ll end up making a smart decision.
 
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Member Comments

Good info! Thanks! Report
Always a good thing to keep in mind when at the restaurants. Report
Whole wheat is not a green flag: WHOLE GRAIN IS. Report
This is a great information for those that don't know these words and exactly what they mean. Report
Thanks Report
Points well taken! Thanks so much! I'll be able to navigate my favorite restaurants' menus much easier now Report
A handy cheat sheet Report
thanks Report
Thank you for this Report
Great information. Now I know what to watch for when ordering. Thanks! Report
ELRIDDICK
Thanks for sharing Report
Great Article Report
Thanks Report
Thanks Report


 

About The Author

Zach Van Hart
Zach Van Hart
Zach is a journalist who regularly covers health and exercise topics.