Texas “4-Leaf” Meal…not an oxymoron

Even during Rodeo Week, it is possible to order a healthy meal in almost any restaurant in Texas.

Positive, simple, flexible and powerful! -- even in Texas

I didn’t say the healthy meal would be listed on the menu, I said that you could order one. And that’s what we did yesterday in Galveston…at a beach restaurant that features 90% of its calories on the menu from fried seafood, big juicy burgers and French fries.

My friend Carl, who has recently joined our 4-Leaf program, was a bit leery when he first saw the menu. Now that he is striving to get over 80% of his calories each day from whole plants, he was even more doubtful when he smelled the grease from the kitchen. But when the menus arrived, I quickly scanned the extensive offerings looking for some side dishes…and there they were.

A very healthy 4-Leaf meal at the Fish Tales Restaurant facing the Gulf of Mexico in Galveston, Texas

We each ordered a combination of mixed vegetables, new potatoes, and brown rice — along with a saucer of lemons to squeeze on our veggies. Being in Texas, we had  Lone Star beers and proceeded to enjoy a delicious, healthy and filling meal — for a mere $10 each; about half the price of the other entrees. Check out this great looking meal on the right, with the lemons right behind the Lone Star.

For the uninformed, here are six simple steps to ordering great meals in almost any restaurant except for Fast Food.

“Hicks Six” Creative Ordering

  1. First, look for some healthy side dishes on the menu.
  2. Then, scan the menu looking for clues to what other kinds of healthy veggies they have in the kitchen.
  3. Look at entrees carefully and make a mental note of the healthy items they are serving with them..also ask your server for ideas, maybe saying that your doctor has you on a special diet (Dr. Campbell, Dr. Esseslstyn, Dr. Fuhrman, etc.).
  4. Once you find out what they have, you can talk to your server about portion size and meal preparation details — like cooking with no oil or butter.
  5. When ordering pasta, make sure that at least 2/3 of the dish is veggies, not pasta…and always ask for whole grain bread, pasta or rice.*
  6. As for the “token” vegetarian entree; forget it. It is typically loaded with oil, white flour and cheese; derives very few calories from whole plants and is rarely even close to being a health-promoting 4-Leaf meal.

After a little practice, this creative ordering can be a lot of fun. Not only will you be enjoying healthy and delicious meals that you create yourself, you’ll be saving roughly $10 every time you dine. As a single man, I save enough going out every night to pay for ALL of the groceries that I purchase at the supermarket.

*If you order a pasta primavera off almost any menu, it will typically be a huge bowl of white pasta, a few tiny vegetables here and there and covered with some combination of oil and/or cream sauce. Bottom line — less than 10% of your calories will be from whole plants — scoring in the “No Leaf” level on our “4-Leaf” scale.

J. Morris Hicks

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com

PS: Occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard. 

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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2 Responses to Texas “4-Leaf” Meal…not an oxymoron

  1. jmorrishicks says:

    Hey Dan, Good to hear from you. I suppose it’s possible but you’d need a real big pile of vegetables and very little eggwhites in order for the veggies to have 4 times as many (80 % to 20 %) calories as the eggs and the oil in which it’s cooked. I’d learn to live without ANY animal products if I were you and fill up on whole plants every chance you get.

    Best, J. Morris Hicks

  2. Dan Liese says:

    Hi Jim;
    Nice article and so when i go out for breakfast can i order veggie omlette and be OK as long as the omlette is made with egg whites only?
    Can you add more detailed photos of your dishes. Instead of one photo add 4 across the page maybe a bit smaller each but give a better visual for us just learning.
    thanks and keep up the great blogging informative news.

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