Healthy Secrets for Ordering Room Service

Posted in On the Ground

Room service is one of life’s great pleasures. There’s something about it, though, that turns us into greedy monsters — especially if we’re on an expense account or somebody else is picking up the bill. Instead of a bowl of oatmeal or other sensible breakfast, I almost always order bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon and, lo and behold, a side of bacon makes its way into my order, as does a glass of orange juice. At dinner, I end up with multiple side dishes and appetizers and desserts. In a nutshell, I over order and I’ve talked to plenty of people who do the same thing.

It’s not just the quantity that changes when I eat via room service versus an actual restaurant, it’s the actual food, too. At a restaurant, I may opt for a simple protein and vegetables, but when room service is involved, I tend to order the burger or the mac & cheese or whatever other calorie bomb sounds good at the time. What is it about room service that makes us forget about calorie counts?

I don’t have the answer to that (although I assume it has something to do with eating on an irregular schedule), but I do have some tips to share from David Zinczenko, author of Eat This, Not That! and Eat It to Beat It!. In an article on the Huffington Post called 5 Room Service Secrets from Top U.S. Hotels, Zinczenko shares five great tips from hospitality industry professionals for keeping your room service order in the realm of healthy eating.

1. Side the sauce; hold the dairy!
“Order all sauces and dressings on the side; it keeps food from getting ‘soggy’ and allows you to control and minimize the added calories. Also, soy or almond milk is usually available on request but not mentioned on the menu. Skip the milk or cream in your cereal.”
— Beth Scott, VP, Food & Beverage Strategy & Innovation, Hilton Worldwide

2. Order something special.
“The daily special is a good option as it is likely to be in peak season and will have a richer flavor and be more nutritious.”
— Michelin-Star Executive Chef Daniel Corey, Luce, InterContinental San Francisco

3. Choose a better bread.
“Always ask if whole wheat bread is available for substitution. The bread slice is usually thinner (cutting calories) and you get more energy from consuming whole wheat flour instead of white.”
— Executive Chef, John Johnson, Four Seasons Hotel, New York

4. Challenge the chef.
“Challenge the chef to make you a simply prepared piece of fish or chicken, and ask for a fresh vegetable, side salad or fruit as a side option.”
— Susan Terry, Vice President Culinary Operations, Hyatt, the Americas.

5. Color code your order.
“Fuel your body properly for the day by adding color to your breakfast. Forgo the bland-looking starches and [choose a meal] that packs a nutritious punch with superfoods such as spinach and blueberries that are antioxidant-rich and naturally low in calories.”
— Brian Povinelli, Global Brand Leade, Westin Hotels & Resorts and Le Méridien

I especially love #4. Not every hotel is going to let you order off the menu, but the whole idea of hospitality is accommodating guests’ wishes and there’s no harm in asking room service to prepare a simple piece of grilled fish with some vegetables if that’s what you want for dinner (and they have the ingredients).

Thanks, David, for the great tips and make sure to check out his books: Eat This, Not That! and Eat It to Beat It!

Source: Huffington Post

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