The Healthy and Not-So Healthy Dishes From Around The Globe

Pasta pic_s4x3_lgEnjoying the experience of trying new foods is truly one of the highlights for many travelers. Whether dining in a swanky restaurant, eating traditional fare in a local cafe, or veering off the path and finding that ultimate food venue, for many travelers, it’s truly about the sights, the people, the museums, the shopping, and the FOOD. You want to try lots of new dishes, but you still want to feel great. To help you make some nutritious choices, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the healthy and not-so heathy dishes that you may encounter as you travel (or you may even experience these dishes where you live). The dishes in the not-so healthy list are there because they are either high in unhealthy fats, or added sugar and/or sodium. If you’re not a so-called “foodie”, it’s time to break out of what you usually choose and let your taste buds have fun. Trying foods that are new to you will help you stretch your culinary journey and add to life’s joys. Eating the same foods all the time can get boring fast. You may be surprised how adding new foods into your diet and experiencing various ethnic restaurants can enrich your life.  So get ready to explore. Bon Appetit!

List of The Healthy and Not-So Healthy Menu Choices

Cuisine Healthy Choices Foods to Limit
American Grilled chicken sandwich on whole grain bread, Grilled or baked chicken, fish or pork, broth based soup and salad, Veggie burger on whole grain bread, Sirloin steak French fries, cream soups, fried chicken, fried fish, cheesy or casserole-like sides, fried sandwiches, loaded baked potato
Italian Minestrone soup and salad, Grilled, vegetables, Mussels, Margarita Pizza, Grilled fish Chicken or Veal Marsala, Spaghetti with tomato sauce, Pasta Primavera, Salmon and Roasted Potatoes, Pasta with chicken or seafood (Note: request whole wheat pasta) Shrimp Alfredo Pasta, Stromboli, Calzone, Manicotti, Lasagna Bolognese, Cheese or Beef Ravioli, Chicken Parmesan, Penne ala Vodka, Baked Ziti, Pepperoni or pasta on Pizza, sausage, Sopressa (salami), Mortadella
Chinese Seafood soup, Steamed Vegetables, brown rice, dishes that are Jum (poached), Chu (broiled), Kow (roasted) or Shu (barbecqued), Shrimp or chicken with broccoli, Mixed Vegetables, Vegetable soup, Egg drop soup, Tofu with Mushrooms, brown rice Won ton soup, Fried rice, Egg rolls, Lo Mein, Chow fun, Spare ribs, General Tsao’s chicken, Crispy beef, Sweet and Sour Pork
Japanese Tofu and vegetable soup, seafood soup, miso soup, edamame, seaweed salad, grilled, steamed or roasted plates (upon request), yakitori, sashimi, crab and avocado sushi roll, sushi (ask for cucumber in place of rice), Teriyaki with salmon, tofu or chicken. Tempura, fried dumplings, donburi (fried pork), fried sushi rolls, sushi with spicy mayo or cream cheese
Greek Hummus with pita, baba ghanoush, Tzatziki (limit to 2 tbsp.), potatoes, Greek salad with dressing on the side, chicken souvlaki, grilled octopus, lamb or fish with steamed vegetables, bean salad, gigante beans, horta (dandelion greens) Fried calamari, fried fish, mousaka, pastitsio, Pita with Giro (pork), Desserts: baklava, loukoumades (fried doughnuts), galactopoureko (custard in phyllo)
Middle Eastern    (Israeli, Lebanese, Persian) Hummus, babaganoush, shish kebab, Grilled fish, chicken or lean meat, tabouli, kibbeh, labneh, falafel (this is fried, so limit to 2 to 3 balls), pita bread, halvah (small piece) Kofta, fried fish, chicken  and meats
French Mussels, Grilled fish, Roasted chicken, Coq au Vin, Sautéed vegetables, Salad Nicoise, Seafood platter, French baguette (bread), Croissants, Pain du chocolat (croissant stuffed with chocolate), Foie gras (goose or duck liver), organ meats, rich creamy sauces
Spanish Grilled fish, chicken and meat, Jambon (ham), grilled vegetables, Paella (traditional rice dish), olives Fried fish, fried tapas


Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as the The 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of The Year by The New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a speaker, blogger, entrepreneur and innovator who is passionate about spreading the message of healthy eating for optimal health. To help restaurants improve upon menu choices and food preparation, Lisa recently founded Eat Well Restaurant Nutrition where she collaborates with chefs. She is also the author of the e-book The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and the widely-acclaimed The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy (Nirvana Press 2012). In her private practice, with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Lisa specializes in weight managment and diabetes for teens and adults. For more info, contact Lisa via email or visit here. This post is excerpted from The Trim Traveler.

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