Menus Are a Guide, Not an Absolute

Many years ago I learned one of the most valuable lessons about eating off menus. Menus are a guide, not an absolute. Why be bogged down to choose the foods restaurants pair together? Think outside the listed entrees! I do this personally and even for events. Let me give you a couple examples I’ve created recently for events. A few months ago we spoke to a group of about 400 public health professionals during their lunch. What a perfect time to talk about eating The Full Plate Diet way while eating a full plate. We met with the event coordinators and chef at the banquet facility. I simply took their menu and circled all the fiber-rich options from all the entrees, snacks, etc. I wanted the plate to be at least 75% filled with fiber-rich foods. Here’s what I came up with. A salad plate with spinach, topped with mandarin oranges, and tossed in vinaigrette dressing.  The lunch plate was filled with rice, black beans (they just look so good with rice), sautéed vegetables, and a grilled chicken breast. Dessert was a wonderful fruit cup with whipped topping. I estimated all of this to equal about 12-15 grams of fiber. The chef didn’t have to create anything new to accommodate the group’s request. These foods were already in his menus. The participants of this event said it was the best and healthiest meal served at a conference. Part of my job is arranging all the needs for our board meetings, including lunch. This picture has to be my favorite meal I’ve ever created off menus. We have several dietary considerations from food allergies to those who are vegan along with providing a high-fiber diet. Here’s what I pulled from this hotel’s menus.

  • Hummus dip with carrots and celery
  • Spinach salad with pears and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing
  • Orzo with black beans (can you tell I love black beans?)
  • Steamed asparagus
  • Fruit kabob
  • Blueberries and raspberries

Do you have a favorite menu find? As part of the support staff at The Full Plate Diet, Amy creates and analyzes fiber-rich recipes that will keep your tongue smiling all day long.


Amy Hanus

Amy Hanus is an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist with a degree in Exercise Science. She bikes, lifts weights, and creates some outrageously yummy, yet surprisingly easy recipes. She’s also the Social Media brain for Full Plate Living. Catch her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest anytime.

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