Tag Archives: Heather Bauer

Menu Moments: What To Eat At Sakura

For over 30 years, Sakura has been a Westport favorite. It’s a go-to place for celebrations, from birthdays and graduations to family reunions. Kids never tire of the hibachi tables, while the tatami rooms in back are great for private dining.

But for many Westporters, Japanese food can still be difficult to figure out. As part of “06880”‘s continuing series on healthy eating, Dietician Heather Bauer offers tips on the best dishes to order at the Post Road landmark.

Hibachi Recommendations

  • Start with onion soup or salad (if you order salad, use ½ dressing)

Entree:

  • Choose shrimp or chicken as your protein, and enjoy the veggies. The oil/sauce entree is cooked in and will count as your carb, so try to skip the rice at this meal. Also, avoid the extra dipping sauces they give you on the side.
  • Alternative: Order the sushi recommendations below at the hibachi table.

Sushi Recommendations

Appetizer (select one):

  • Miso soup (if you are not salt-sensitive)
  • Mixed green salad (with a half-serving of ginger dressing)
  • Edamame (share)
  • Seaweed salad

Entree (choose one):

  • Order your favorite roll Naruto style (wrapped in cucumber instead of rice). I love tuna/avocado, yellowtail/jalapeno or salmon/avocado. You can also order 1 hand roll of your choice (optional request: use cucumber instead of rice).
  • 6-piece maki roll (request to be cut into 8 pieces; this helps slow you down), with 4 pieces of sashimi.
  • 6 pieces of sashimi, and a side order of oshitashi (spinach).
  • Chirashi sushi (comes with 6 pieces of sashimi over steamed rice; eat one-quarter to one-half of the rice; leave the rest over. This is a great option for naturally slower eaters).
  • Chicken or salmon teriyaki, with double steamed veggies (skip the rice, as the sauce counts as your carb here. This is a great option for anyone who does not like sushi).

Things to Avoid

  • Tempura, spider, dynamite, spicy rolls and eel.
  • Dishes described as Agemono or tempura; both are deep-fried.
  • Sushi rolls made with cream cheese and too much avocado.

Additional Notes

  • Look for rolls wrapped in cucumber instead of rice (Naruto style).
  • Order your maki roll (usually 6 pieces) to be cut into 8 pieces; this helps you take smaller bites. Also, ordering rolls inside out adds more rice (better with the seaweed on the outside).
  • If you switch your roll from white to brown rice you add fiber, which makes it more filling. Note: brown and white rice calories are about the same.
  • Edamame usually comes salted; it is soybeans, so this works best for vegetarians or slower eaters who will only have a few pieces. If you are a fast eater and not good at sharing food, don’t start the edamame until there is a quarter or half left (in case you have trouble stopping!).
  • You can also always sub the rice in a hand roll for cucumber or other veggies.
  • Always request lite soy sauce. Add wasabi and ice cubes to help dilute it. No refills!
  • Eating with chopsticks helps slow you down.
  • Be careful with sake. It has more calories than you realize. Six ounces of sake is about 240 calories (there are 150 calories in 6 ounces of wine).

It all looks great. But some options at Sakura are healthier than others.

Menu Moments: What To Order At Spotted Horse

Spotted Horse is a Westport favorite — a go-to place for a family celebration, drinks and dinner with colleagues, or to meet out-of-town friends.

But while your companions might order something heavy — or fried — you’ve got plenty of healthy options. Dietician Heather Bauer offers tips on the best dishes to order at the downtown landmark.

Appetizers (Share a few, rather than ordering your own)

Hummock Island oysters (½ dozen)

Tuna tartare (try to skip the plantain chips — a hard ask!)

Prosciutto/cucumber and melon

Roasted marinated beet salad

Crispy Brussels sprouts (delicious, and too good to be true — make sure to share!)

Roasted cauliflower

Fish entrees

Sesame-crusted ahi tuna tacos (comes deconstructed — skip the tortilla)

Ahi tuna tacos (skip the tortilla!)

Sushi-grade tuna seared rare/pineapple-cilantro salsa/wasabi yogurt sauce and warm flour tortillas

Pan-seared scallops or salmon

Salads: Order the Grey Goose Cobb (without bacon and blue cheese), kale and avocado or roasted bet salad; add grilled shrimp, grilled salmon or ahi tuna

Salmon burger (no bun; ask for the house salad as a side)

Meat entrees

Grey Goose Cobb (with grilled chicken or grilled steak; then pick either bacon OR goat or Parmesan cheese — you can’t have both, because of the dressing and avocado; note that the salads listed above under “Fish” also work here with chicken or steak)

Classic burger (no bun; ask for the house salad as a side)

Seared filet tips appetizer (order as an entree, with a side salad)

Vegetarian entrees

Tommy’s vegetable spasta (marinara/spaghetti squash/zucchini/red peppers/basic pesto/pine nuts/shave Parmigiano/extra virgin olive oil and lemon)

House-made veggie burger (black bean-based, gluten-free; order without the bun; choose the house salad, not fries)

Veggie burger

Veggie bowl (order with sauce on the side)

Roasted cauliflower/roasted beets/shaved veggies/avocado/sesame dressing/garbanzo beans and scallions

Kale and avocado salad

Grey Goose Cobb (no chicken, egg or bacon; ask for goat cheese instead of blue cheese)

Roasted beet salad

Bonus dining tip from Heather

Choose foods that take a while to eat. Ordering something you can wolf down in 2 minutes makes the rest of the meal a struggle. Go for things that take longer to chew: a big side salad, mussels rather than scallops, or a lean steak (like a small filet mignon that requires cutting) rather than pasta.

Menu Moments: What To Eat At The Duck

Everyone loves the Black Duck. But admit it: With its wings, stuffed burgers, fried shrimp, po’ boys, onion rings and beers, it’s no one’s first choice when someone says, “Let’s eat healthy!”

Yet that doesn’t mean you can’t join the gang at the barge. Today, dietician Heather Bauer offers tips on the best, healthiest dishes to order at the Saugatuck landmark.

Appetizers:

Small house salad (the best option for vegan/vegetarian); oil/vinegar dressing

The Duck’s raw bar (6 oysters or 6 littlenecks)

Shrimp cocktail

Lobster cocktail ($20, but delicious)

Steamers (skip the butter on the side)

The Black Duck’s littleneck steamed clams (go easy on the butter and beer!)

Fish entrees

Broiled salmon (ask for a veggie side, instead of rice or potatoes)

Large house salad with shrimp or salmon on top (the best dressing option is oil/vinegar)

Steamers (skip the butter on the side, or go light)

1 1/4-pound steamed lobster (skip the butter and potato if you can; depending on the market price, this may be a great deal — it comes with a house salad) 

Meat entrees

Large house salad with grilled chicken or flat iron steak (the best dressing option is oil/vinegar)

House hamburger (choose the English muffin, and make it “topless” — take the top off, and eat with a fork and knife; ask for extra lettuce and/or tomato, and a side of coleslaw instead of fries or tater tots)

Turkey burger (again, order it “topless”; eat with a fork and knife; ask for extra veggies)

Take the top off a burger. (And avoid the sour cream.)

Vegetarian options

Iceberg wedge (without the bacon and blue cheese; ask for oil/vinegar dressing instead)

Veggie Burger (order it “topless”; ask for extra veggies and avocado on the side)

Bonus dining tip from Heather

Snack or not before you go?

You might think that a snack before you go out is a good way to avoid overeating, but it’s not always true. Be honest with yourself. Think about the times you’ve done this. Did you actually eat less at the restaurant, or was your overall intake that much more? Sometimes your pre-meal snack can increase your appetite, and decrease your self-control.

A Westport favorite, for decades. (Photo/Chou Chou Merrill)

Menu Moments: What To Order At Amis

As part of “06880”‘s new feature, registered dietician Heather Bauer offers tips on the best, healthiest dishes to order at local restaurants.

Today she talks about Amis. The popular Bedford Square trattoria  offers indoor and patio dining — and many options. Heather says:

Amis is very accommodating for specific dietary needs. There’s even a key in the right corner of the menu specifying gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian.

Amis Trattoria.

With my recommendations, you will not have to make any substitutions or special requests. As always: Skip the bread and dessert, and enjoy your food the way the chef has prepared it for you!

Fish Lover Options

Appetizer:

Arugula salad

Ccucumber salad

Entree:

Grilled octopus appetizer (make sure you specify you want this to arrive with entree) + asparagus (share with table)

Grilled salmon

Whole branzino (recommended for fast eaters; you’ll have to “work” for your food)

Mussels (another good working food option;  great for faster eaters)

Meat Lover Options

Appetizer:

Arugula salad

Bufala mozzarella

Entree:

Grilled chicken paillard (bufala mozzarella as starter)

New York strip (arugula salad to start)

Sal’s meatballs (arugula salad to start)

Sal’s meatballs at Amis.

Vegetarian options (vegans must stick to vegan options listed on menu)

Appetizer:

Arugula salad

Cucumber salad

Asparagus “alla plancha”

Entree:

Spinach ricotta meatballs

Bufala mozzarella

Kale and quinoa salad (if you have this for an entree, start with asparagus)

Bonus dining tip from Heather

Be Prepared with A,B,C: Researching the restaurant beforehand is great, but have 2 backup meal choices in case your first choice isn’t available. A lot of clients get discouraged when they can’t order what they planned on. They end up making a choice they regret.

Menu Moments: What To Order At Bartaco

The other day, “06880” introduced a new feature. Registered dietician Heather Bauer will offer tips on the best, healthiest dishes to order at local restaurants.

Her first trip is to Bartaco. Yes, Heather says, it’s quite possible to join friends at the very popular Mexican place on the river, and eat quite well. Here’s how:

Starter recommendation

Small guac, and either salsa roja or salsa verde. Skip the chips; order a few sides of raw veggies (no charge for extra veggies). Save your carbs for your cocktail or entree.

Entrees for fish lovers (choose one)

●        Chopped salad. Hold the tortilla chips; add grilled swordfish (you can use shrimp as alternative to swordfish — but note: It is soaked in buttermilk).

●        2 tuna tatako tacos wrapped in Bibb lettuce.

Tuna tatakos with Bibb lettuce

●        1 tuna tatako taco wrapped in Bibb lettuce, and 1 baja taco wrapped in lettuce. (Note: The fish is fried, but the portion is small — only 150 calories — so it is fine paired with tuna tatako).

●        Tuna poke (optional change: order without fried ginger).

Entrees for Meat Lovers (choose one)

●        2 carne asada tacos wrapped in Bibb lettuce.

●        1 carne asada taco wrapped in Bibb lettuce, and 2 chicken chorizo tacos wrapped in Bibb lettuce.

●        Roasted chicken.

●        Chopped salad; hold the chips, and add roasted chicken. Ask for double chicken, if hungry.

Entrees for Vegetarians (choose one)

●      Greens and grains (a new addition to the menu). The quinoa is the protein, so no substitutions are needed.

●        Chopped salad; hold the tortilla chips. Vegans: skip the queso, and ask for extra avocado.

●        Cauliflower taco wrapped in Bibb lettuce, and portobello taco wrapped in Bibb lettuce (vegans: skip the queso).

Cauliflower tacos

Recommended Sides

●        Spicy cucumber salad (only 70 calories!)

●        Asian slaw (50 cals!)

●        Kids’ side of avocado

Recommended Drinks

●        Bartaco skinny margarita. They use their house tequila (Libelula) without the agave, to save you on the sugar.

●        Nojito: non-alcoholic, only 60 calories

Bonus dining tip from Heather

●        Women: Wear tighter-fitting clothes to dinner. Men: Tighten your belt buckle. Both serve as a gentle reminder not to overeat.

Eat healthy — and socialize — at Bartaco.

Heather Bauer Serves Up Restaurant Tips

Food, glorious food.

From one end of town (Pane e Bene) to the other (Naan), and everywhere in between*, Westport is a restaurant town.

You can find almost every cuisine on the planet**. You can eat out every day — lunch and dinner — at a different spot, for weeks without hitting the same spot twice.

What could possible go wrong?

Plenty, says Heather Bauer.

Heather Bauer

She should know. A registered dietitian with decades of experience in the corporate world and private practice — and the author of two books — she now rents an office above Kawa Ni***. From there, she can walk to more than a dozen great restaurants.

When she does, she is sometimes appalled. Despite many healthy choices, diners don’t always order well.

Her mission is to help.

Seven years ago — after 18 years working with Type A types, and writing “The Wall Street Diet” and “Bread is the Devil” — she moved with her husband and 3 children from Manhattan to Westport.

They were attracted by the water, and the town’s beauty. They knew no one, but love living here. “It’s a great place to raise a family,” Bauer says.

She commuted to the city. But a year ago she closed her New York office to concentrate on the online version of her practice. Her services include weight management, pre- and post-natal counseling, adolescent nutrition, sports nutrition, and general health and wellness.

One specialty is teaching people how to eat “in the real world.” Here in Westport, her plate is full.****

“You can’t live in a hermetically sealed bubble,” Bauer says. “You have a business lunch. You go out with friends. You go out to dinner because it’s easier than cooking.”

Heather Bauer has thoughts on portion sizes — and bread baskets.

She is not the Food Police. She knows that eating out — the food, the company, the whole enchilada — is enjoyable.

“Many nutritionists have their clients strip food of flavor by holding all sauces, and making 5 million substitutions,” she says.

She’s not like that. In fact, people who make a big deal out of telling everyone about their dietary needs often end up eating more when they get home, because their meal was not satisfying.*****

Bauer asks clients, “What’s your week like? Where will you be eating?” Then she helps them understand their food choices.

Here’s a tasting menu of tips:

  • Check a restaurant’s menu online. Know what you’ll order ahead of time. (But call ahead too, to make sure the menu you’ve seen is current.)
  • Save the carbs for dinner. No bagel for breakfast!
  • Drink plenty of water before you go.
  • Order last. If you’re the first person, everyone listens to what you’re getting. By the end, no one cares.
  • Make no more than 2 requests for substitutions or changes.
  • Put your knife and fork down often. Eating slowly helps you get full faster. It also helps you enjoy what you’re eating.
  • Drink water during the meal.
  • Instead of ordering an entree, try 2 appetizers. They can be very interesting — and the portions are smaller.
  • Given 2 choices, order the food that takes longer to eat. (In other words: mussels, not scallops.)

In Westport, Bauer says, “it’s easy to eat well. Lots of restaurants cater to people who want to eat healthy. They use fresh, organic, local ingredients. You just have to learn to navigate through their menus.”

Like many local restaurants, Jesup Hall has an intriguing menu. But in addition to help understanding some of the dishes, some of us could use some help figuring out the healthiest options.

If all this has you salivating for specifics: You’re in luck.

Every month, Bauer will offer “06880” readers tips on the best items to order at real Westport restaurants. She’ll pick a different cuisine each time.

Keep an eye out here for “Menu Moments.” The first dish will be served soon.

Waaaaay too many to single out.

** Not Mongolian — though we once had that, where Shake Shack is.

*** Total coincidence.

**** One can argue that Westport is not “the real world.” For the sake of this story, it is.

***** And at home, no one’s watching.