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Mar 6, 2010 04:43 PM

Light but delicious grub?

I'm on a diet.. but I don't know a single restaurant that is delicious and light..
does anyone have suggestions???

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  1. My vote would be Blowfish - very tasty and generally very healthy.

    1. You can go delicious and light just about anywhere if you're prepared to share dishes with other diners at your table. It's the only reasonable way to practice portion control AND you'll spend less money. Split a main, save a pound.

      The one place that springs to mind where you may be able to keep your meal is Tabule. Come for the calorie control, stay for the good food.

      If you could give an idea as to the neighbourhood(s) you'd be dining in I might be able to think of more.

      2009 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4S 1Z8, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: Googs

        Thanks. So true about portion control but I always feel weird if I go to a restaurant and only order one entree when we are a party of two.

        We are mostly in the Wellesley and Bay area, and we have a car so don't mind driving to locations in the downtown area.. if you have lunch suggestions in the finance district that would be good too. Even the lunches are ginormous! My only solution so far is the Longo's salad/hot food bar in BCE. Not a big fan of Marcello's either..

      2. I know many people are tired of the "small plates" trend, but it has benefits, especially when you want to enjoy a meal out without gorging yourself on enormous portions. A couple places that come to mind are Torito on Augusta in Kensington Market, and Swish by Han on Wellington East. Both are places where you can sample 4 or 5 interesting and well-made small dishes, have a couple drinks, and leave while still being able to walk properly.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Gary

          And let's not forget Cava. A Spanish restaurant serving Tapas. How unique these days. I, personally, don't find tapas a good way to portion control. One plate too many and you're beat.

          1. re: Googs

            I agree. I think its hard because if tapas come at different times, then you eat your plate, then "forget" the portion you have eaten thus far.. then another comes.. and you eat that.. and you never can keep a good mental idea of what you have eaten. Brian Wansink has done some interesting studies on this with chicken wings.. if you remove the bones from the table, people will keep eating more because the bones kind of give you a reminder like "woah, Ive already eaten THAT much". I think if you have a large portion sitting in front of you, and see most of it gone, or see an empty plate, you will be more satisfied. As a student in dietetics and someone who keeps a good eye on restaurant nutritionals, my best tip is either to split something, order an app instead of a main course, immediately doggy bag before you start eating, OR look at the portion when it comes and say to yourself "I am going to eat THIS much of the protein.. THIS much of the starch etc.." Give yourself rules before you even start and stick to them. Save the rest of the portion for the next meal.
            Having said that, when I am trying to eat light, I always either go for sashimi (very high protein, and very low cal, and since it is not cooked you know there is no hidden fats lurking in there), or for lobster/shrimp/shell fish/crabs/oysters (again no added fat, very high protein). Hope that helps.

            1. re: hungryabbey

              Well done, apparently not as Hungry as I thought Abbey. You've pretty much covered it.

              Hippotatomus, I wouldn't feel weird about sharing or doggy bagging at all. Just go where you want to go. Restaurants should content themselves with having your business period even if they won't be wringing their hands and salivating over your huge bill.

              I'm afraid I don't know lunch spots in your area very well. For healthy options that pack flavour punch, though, I'd generally suggest Japanese, Italian, and Middle Eastern restaurants. Avoid the urge to double-carb at any of those.

              It's all about calories and portion control, not about giving up foods you enjoy. First person that tells me I can't have a steak can wear my salad.

              1. re: Googs

                Oh, I'm hungry, but I also have learned how to satisfy that hunger sensibly (most days of the week). The amazing thing is about restaurant-nutritionals is that often time, the steak is the lowest calorie option, beating out salads and chicken breasts!
                If you are unwilling to make special requests (ie. cook in minimal oil, no added butter), portion control is definately your best bet.

                1. re: hungryabbey

                  Totally agree, Abbey. And the biggest thing I took away from the Wansink book was a firm belief that *I* decide how much is in a portion, not the restaurant. I share OP's discomfort with ordering on entree between two people so I tend to use doggie bags, and none of the downtown restaurants I go to seem to mind. Presumably they're happy we're ordering 2 and taking leftovers instead of just splitting one.

                  A few suggestions for OP... If you're stuck with food courts go to the japanese stir fry places. Just rice and veggies with sauce makes a huge but light meal, and they don't add fat to the meat so you can do that too if you like.

                  If you have a burger and fries craving, go to Beerbistro with friends. Have an awesome burger and treat yourself to a few of their amazing frites - while your friends snarf most of those down for you.

                  Also, don't be afraid to experiment with vegetarian. Fresh (I go to the one on Spadina) makes some amazing dishes that I forget are veggie. Most of them are low calorie, high nutrient, but I eat them because they're good. My favorite there is the simple rice bowl (rice, tamari, tahini, lemon parsley, grated carrots) with a side of sauteed spinach that I mix in. It probably doesn't sound nearly as yummy as it tastes, but trust me. It's creamy, satisfying comfort food.

                  1. re: idnas

                    Stir fry is perilous. I've very seldom met one that didn't need less oil.

                    1. re: Googs

                      At the Japanese places in the food courts, at least the ones I'm talking about, they don't stir fry in oil. They use water on a very hot grill. (Maybe stir fry isn't the right technical term.)

                      Made In Japan lists their teryaki chicken/rice/veggies/sauce at 523 calories and 2.5g of fat, so skipping the chicken it would definitely ring in lower than that. Good numbers for a really filling and satisfying meal, IMO.

                      (As a side note, their tofu version comes in at 664 cal. and 13.9g of fat so I wouldn't go that route. Either stick to just the veggies like I do or go to chicken or shrimp.)

        2. Four restaurant (under Far Niente)
          All of the mains there are under 650 calories (the smoked sable fish main is sooo good)... plus they publish all of the nutritional information on their website (fat, calories, etc)

          1 Reply
          1. re: AJMC791

            I've had mixed results with their food - but they have an outstanding chicken burger at lunch.

          2. i've never been, but i've heard great things about live.

            1 Reply
            1. re: foodismyhobby

              Live is great, as long as you're not expecting the raw dishes to replicate cooked foods. The "raw pizza" is tasty, but it's nothing like pizza.
              Their salads are fabulous, and so are the cooked dishes.