The One Starter You Should Never Order At A Restaurant, Nutritionists Say

Group of friends eating fried appetizers
Group of friends eating fried appetizers

Even if you’re trying to lose weight in time for summer, you still deserve to treat yourself to a nice meal out every once in a while. But, ordering the wrong foods at restaurants can set you back on your weight loss goals. Specifically, there are certain appetizers that experts warn are loaded with unnecessary calories.

To learn more about the worst starter that you should never order at restaurants, we spoke with Krutika Nanavati, a registered dietitian, and nutritionist. She says that deep-fried appetizers are loaded with excessive calories and unhealthy fats. Read on to learn more about some deep-fried starters to avoid and what you should order instead next time you eat out.

Deep-Fried Foods Are The Worst Appetizers To Order At A Restaurant

Dining out at a restaurant can be such a wonderful experience—everything from the nice ambiance, delectable food, and great service is so much better than cooking over a hot stove and cleaning the dishes when you're done. And, one of the best parts about dining out is the variety of delicious foods, specifically on the appetizers list, you can order. But, experts like Nanavati, who is also a medical advisor at Clinicspots, say that anything deep-fried is the worst appetizer.

"Deep-fried appetizers are usually loaded with calories and unhealthy fats. Think about items such as mozzarella sticks, onion rings, chicken wings, jalapeño poppers, and French fries. While these can be delicious, they are also extremely high in calories and not very nutritious," she explains. "Another type of starter to avoid is loaded nachos. Nachos tend to be served with a variety of toppings such as cheese, [and] sour cream."

These starters are often excessively high in calories and saturated fat. They're also made with inflammatory oils and fats. "The deep-frying process adds even more fat and calories to the meal. Most of these foods are also filled with sodium, which can cause water retention and bloating. The combination of fat, calories, and sodium make deep-fried dishes an unhealthy choice for weight loss," Nanavati continues. Plus, most of these deep-fried appetizers are breaded or battered with refined flour, which can spike blood sugar levels and lead to cravings later on. Yikes!

And, a lot of deep-fried starters are topped or made with cheese and cream—which can add up quickly. "One ounce of cheddar contains 113 calories. Cream toppings such as sour cream and mayonnaise contain even more calories at around 120-125 per tablespoon. These toppings are high in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol." So, while deep-fried, cheesy appetizers are definitely appetizing (no pun intended!), they can also be unnecessarily high in calories and saturated fat.

Healthy Appetizers To Order For Weight Loss

Just because experts recommend you avoid deep-fried appetizers, that doesn't mean you can't order any starters at restaurants. Actually, Nanavati says you can eat foods that won't add extra calories. You can instead opt for a soup like "vegetable soup, bean soup, or miso soup." Soups are packed with nutrition but low in fat and calories.

Similarly, she notes that salads are also a great option for healthy appetizers because they can add some fiber to your meal. "Opt for a salad with lots of vegetables and a light dressing like vinaigrette or oil-free Italian dressing," Nanavati says. You could also try appetizers like "bruschetta or hummus," if you're vegetarian. Hummus, Nanavati says, is a great snack dip for weight loss. This is because it's not only packed with healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants, but it's also low in calories.

And, she adds that if you're looking for something a little more filling, you can, "try ordering some fish tacos with grilled fish and lots of fresh vegetables instead of deep-fried versions," because fish and lean proteins provide essential vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and protein.

The Bottom Line

Overall, Nanavati says that deep-fried appetizers like mozzarella sticks, onion rings, chicken wings, jalapeño poppers, and French fries are detrimental to weight loss goals because they're made with inflammatory oils, saturated fats, and high in calories. So it's probably best to avoid this starter or at least limit them if you really want to lose weight. Instead, she recommends that you order appetizers that won't add unnecessary calories and are also packed with the nutrients you need to lose weight!