Shrimp on the Road: Five Healthy Menu Picks

Although it’s easy to serve a healthy shrimp dish at home, sometimes it’s difficult to find the same in a restaurant. Says Candy Harrington, author of Shrimp My Way; Low Calorie, Easy Prep and Simply Delicious, “Preparation is the key with shrimp, and some restaurant offerings are just loaded with calories, sodium and fat. That doesn’t mean you have to scratch shrimp off the menu; but you do have to know which dishes make the healthy eating cut, and which don’t.”

With that in mind, here are Candy’s top shrimp picks — at home or on the road.

  • Shrimp Cocktail
    Although the appetizer menu is usually filled with high calorie offerings, shrimp cocktail is a very doable choice. Go easy on the cocktail sauce if you are watching your sodium, but the good news is, shrimp cocktail is low in fat and calories. Consider pairing it with a healthy green salad for a light lunch or dinner.
  • Cerviche
    Cerviche can be made with any seafood item, as it’s basically fish marinated in lime juice. You can add just about anything to it, including chopped peppers, tomatoes and cilantro. Although it’s traditionally served with tortilla chips or a tostada, shrimp cerviche is pretty tasty all by itself. So order the cerviche, but pass on the chips.
  • Salad
    There’s nothing healthier than a fresh shrimp salad, that is, if it’s made correctly. A green salad topped with shrimp with low-calorie dressing on the side is a good choice. Stay away from those heavy mayonnaise-based shrimp salads, and go for the green stuff instead.
  • Grilled Shrimp
    Almost every restaurant has some rendition of grilled shrimp. It’s simple to prepare — just throw the shrimp in a marinade, thread it on a skewer and fire up the grill. The key here is the marinade, so stay away from high fat choices such as shrimp basted in butter.
  • Pasta Dishes
    There’s no shortage of pasta dishes on most restaurant menus, but some are healthier than others. There are two things to watch out for with shrimp pasta — the sauce and the portion. Make sure the sauce is light and not cream-based. You’ll also need to either split the meal or take half of it home, because most restaurant portions of pasta are actually two-to-three servings.
  • Shrimp Tacos
    Shrimp tacos can also be a delicious choice. Make sure the shrimp is grilled, not deep fried; and watch out for deep fried taco shells. Stay away from the sour cream and guacamole. In general, the simpler a shrimp taco is, the better it is for you.