Understanding Menu Terms

One of the challenges of healthy eating is knowing how to spot lower-calorie, lower-fat dishes on a menu. The following guide can help you make informed choices.


Sauces that are lower in calories and fat:

  • Bourguignon. A sauce made by braising meat with red wine, carrots, onion, flour, and mushrooms.

  • Marinara. A highly seasoned tomato sauce made with onions, garlic, and oregano.

Sauces that are high in calories and fat:

  • Alfredo. A creamy Italian sauce prepared with butter, heavy cream, and grated Parmesan cheese.

  • Bechamel. A sauce made with white wine, vinegar, shallots, egg yolks, and butter.

  • Bolognese. A thick meat sauce made with ground meat sautéed in butter and/or olive oil with wine, milk, or cream added.

  • Hollandaise. A sauce made with egg yolks, butter, and lemon juice.

  • Veloute. A sauce made with beef or chicken stock, eggs, and cream.

High-sodium dishes

Items on the menu that include these terms or ingredients are high in salt/sodium:

  • Cured

  • In broth

  • Marinated

  • Pickled

  • Smoked

  • Teriyaki

  • Creole sauce

  • Cocktail sauce

  • Soy sauce