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How Healthy is Food from a Bar and Grill?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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Essentially, most food served in a bar and grill is only as healthy as its clientele expect it to be. Popular appetizers such as mozzarella sticks and stuffed potato skins may have completely natural ingredients, but they are generally prepared in traditionally unhealthy ways. Strips of mozzarella cheese, a dairy product naturally high in saturated fats, are dredged in seasoned bread crumbs and deep fried in oil, for example. Often accompanied by salty marinara sauces and other processed dips, a single serving of fried mozzarella sticks can easily exceed the total recommended daily allowance of fat and sodium.

Stuffed potato skins are another favorite appetizer served in a bar and grill, but they are not for the health-conscious, either. The preparation begins with splitting baked potatoes in half lengthwise and scooping out most of the healthy potato innards to form a shell. This shell is then deep fried in oil, which could add unhealthy trans fatty acids to the mix. Various cheeses and meats are then added to the potato shell and then melted under a salamander broiler. The addition of a dollop of sour cream helps to make stuffed potato skins another unhealthy bar and grill food.

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This is not to suggest that all food prepared in a bar and grill is inherently unhealthy, however. Many bar and grills do offer healthier alternatives such as green salads, and leaner entrees such as fish and chicken can be prepared by healthier methods like roasting or baking. A bar and grill offering pub grub often caters to a demographic where healthy eating is not a high priority, but there may be some offerings suitable for those who try to eat as healthy as possible.

There is also a double-edged sword where food is concerned in a bar and grill. Many of the snack foods and appetizers are designed to encourage more sales of alcohol and other beverages. This means the free food offered during a "happy hour" may not be as free as one might hope. Bar owners often place free salty snacks such as popcorn, pickled eggs, pretzels and nuts on the bar in order to create thirstier customers. At one point in history, bartenders even offered cans of caviar to customers, primarily because the brined eggs would trigger a strong thirst for alcohol.

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Buster29
Post 2

I think when you choose to dine in bar and grill restaurants, you're not exactly looking for healthy food. It's all part of the bigger evening of entertainment. You share some greasy appetizers with friends, order a half-pound hamburger for dinner and then have a slice of Chocolate Overload cake for dessert. It's a ritual, along with the beer and the live music.

But I will say that the last restaurant bar and grill I visited was starting to offer some healthier alternatives. The owner told me that a number of people weren't ordering anything, because none of the offerings were diet-friendly. He changed the menu so that one person could order a steak and a fully loaded baked potato, while his or her spouse could order a chef salad or baked fish.

Inaventu
Post 1

I used to eat dinner at a local bar and grill years ago, and I wouldn't have called anything on the menu "healthy". I mostly ate huge hamburgers with toppings like bacon and mayo and sliced cheese. The other items I remember were fried chicken strips and a sampler basket of fried and breaded vegetables.

Last month, I stopped into that same restaurant bar and grill (now under new management) and there were things like salads, veggie burgers and grilled chicken strips on the menu. I couldn't believe it was the same place. I'd say at least half of the menu items would qualify as heart-healthy or diabetic-friendly.

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