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restaurants with good dishes for dieters

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(previous post got axed by chowhound mods for being too broad by including recipes)

so i'm dieting (in addition to changing eating habits and exercising, but want that initial large weight drop) and want to know if you have favorite restaurants that have healthier, less caloric, food. cheaper is a plus. carbs are ok for me, sugar's not.

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  1. Which island?

    1 Reply
    1. re: DriverPhil

      my bad, oahu

    2. many places have decent salads (get the dressing on the side and use SPARINGLY), a lot have fish preparations that are low calorie (minimal sauces and butter). Avoid the bread and butter and croutons. What kind of price range?

      for fast food/drive thru I like jack in the box salads best, then mc'ds. Tell them you want the low cal dressing. taco bell, burger king, and wendy's not so much - for me at least.

      the counter and teddy's do good salads as well. one step up from fast foods. That salad place at Kahala mall is good too.

      you can do well at kakaako kitchen, big city diner, and even the chains if you order carefully. just say good bye to rice.

      2 Replies
      1. re: KaimukiMan

        I've been craving kim chi and rice. usually I don't eat much rice.

        as for salads, I either eat it at home (I bought a huge variety of dressings that i try to use in moderation) or I have the side salad at mc'd with no croutons. I could do small salad at other fast food places.

        i'm more curious about dishes other than plain salad. eating fish is an option, good suggestion, and I have been leaning in that direction lately, but also have been disappointed by dry fish, even at good restaurants.

        price range: cheap up to $10.

        1. re: indelibledotink

          having watched several friends, start thinking of salad and vegetables not as a side dish, but as what you eat most of the time. chicken, LEAN beef, and fish are nice additions to the salad, not the main event. bulk carbs (rice, potatoes, pasta, bread) make occasional cameo appearances. As honu2 says below, its more a matter of focusing on dishes than choosing a particular restaurant.

          and i guess i should add that you are going to find it is much easier to eat fattening food cheap than healthy low fat foods.

      2. I think it's more a matter of focusing on dishes rather than choosing restaurants. For example, you could order green papaya salad and spring rolls at any Vietnamese or Thai restaurant. Or choi sum or ong choi with or without chicken at a Cantonese restaurant.

        Given your current cravings, have you thought about trying the prepared foods bar at the new Palama supermarket in Kalihi? They have quite an array of ban chan that you can buy by weight, so that a meal consisting of single servings of watercress, pickled radish or bean sprouts (also different types of kim chee) would be quite reasonable. Palama also serves plate lunches - you order in the back of the store.

        2 Replies
        1. re: honu2

          I have not been to the new palama, but my parents had a positive report for the plate lunches. I will try the banchan.

          1. re: indelibledotink

            My favorite diet food while splurging has always been mixed vegetable dish in Chinese restaurants -- no meat. Always delicious - make sure to tell them no MSG.

        2. POKE.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Joebob

            had some poke last week. anyone have a guestimate as to how much calories are in typical shoyu poke?

            1. re: indelibledotink

              If on a diet, I suggest the plain poke and you can dip it in shoyu. A 6-oz plain ahi/tuna is about 200 - 250 cal. Plain salmon is about 300 cal.

              1. re: roro808

                Low cal, high protein, no carbs. That is diet food.

              2. re: indelibledotink

                Does typical shoyu poke contain any sesame oil? You'd have to account for the calories & fat in the oil, then.

                1. re: kathryn

                  Yes; some would even add sugar. The best poke would be the plain poke with seaweed, or sashimi. But these call for really fresh fish and not pre-frozen found in most stores.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    roro is right, there is often some oil added, but generally speaking its a pretty small amount, unless you are getting something like spicy ahi that often has mayonnaise along with the shiracca

              3. dropped 5lbs so far. i'm changing eating habits in general, so i'm getting used to, and liking, veggies/fruit again.