Published on July 24, 2018

How to Eat Healthy at NYC Restaurants with Dietician Amy Shaprio

Making reservations may have gotten easier (hi, Reserve!), but knowing what to order can sometimes be a struggle, especially if you're trying to keep it clean and healthy. That's why we enlisted Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, the founder and director of Real Nutrition, a NYC-based private practice dedicated to healthfully and successfully guiding clients to their optimal nutrition, weight, and overall wellness, to show us how we can eat out and well at the same time. 

Head Shot V2
Photo of Amy Shapiro, the founder and director of Real Nutrition.


Amy looked at the menus of five Reserve partners, and is here to give you an inside look at how she'd think through through menu selections as a dietician. Here are your “best bets”—no deprivation required! So get a table, grab some friends, dig in and leave feeling great (not bloated)!


Doesn’t this menu look decadent? Guess what? It’s also is deceptively healthy. My order would look similar to the following:

  • Starter: Chickpea Guacamole. I’m intrigued by the use of Moringa (superfood alert!) in this dish. Pro tip: avoid extra calories by limiting the chips and enjoy with a fork instead.  

  • App: Crudités Salad. I’m a sucker for fresh veggies and salad helps to fill you up so you’ll eat less later. 

  • Main: Sirloin Arrachera Steak. Yes you can eat red meat and be healthy! Just enjoy it with a side of greens and not more than 2x/week.  

NYC - Little Owl - porkchop (1)

Little Owl
I’m a sucker for a seasonal menu and this place never disappoints. Since I’m writing this during July, you’ll see my choices reflect their summer menu. Little Owl’s separate section just for veggies steals my heart!  My order here would look something like this:

  • Apps:  Watermelon or Sunflower Salad

  • Main:  Arctic Char (you had me at “radishes and avocado”)

  • Veggies: Spinach (never enough greens) and corn (summer corn freaking rules)

    NYC - Mission Chinese - Asian - Table Setting - Groups

Mission Chinese Food
Although some people may have the perception that Chinese cuisine is unhealthy, that's not the case at all and I'm here to dispel this myth! Mission Chinese's menu makes digging in and staying slim easy. I’ve listed a few options for each category, since this tends to be a “family style” order.

  • Apps: Sashimi (omega 3s anyone?), Steak Tartare (high in protein!), and the cooling cabbage and seaweed salad (you won’t believe the amount of minerals in this dish!)

  • Mains: Broccoli Beef Brisket ( Flaxseed!) and Oven Roasted Whole Fish

  • Veggies:  Pea Greens and Yuba in kabocha squash broth and Wood Fired Celery

  • Rice: Shiso Fried Rice – it’s filled with nutritious veggies! (note: I tend to recommend skipping carbs at big meals like this since they really fill you up) 

  • Noodles:  If you must go for the noodles section, I like the added benefit and antioxidants in the Green Tea Noodles.

Who doesn’t love Mexican food?  The hard part is keeping it healthy and not filling up on chips and guac before your food arrives (common mistake).

  • Apps: Guac (heart healthy fats and fiber!), Ensalada de Casa (fill up on veggies!) and Ceviche (lean protein at its tastiest!) One of my favorite tips is to ask for cut up veggies to enjoy with you guac and ceviche instead of chips.  Jicama is my favorite!

  • Main: I say stick with the tacos because after all that’s what you came for (oh and portion control!). Go with corn tortillas and skip the cheese. My two favs are the Cauliflower (so on trend) and the Pescado grilled of course - and hold the crema!  

I am a huge fan of any spot that can make healthy food (I’m not just talking salad) creative, different, inviting and of course even healthier. And Dimes does all that. There are about 3 super foods in every dish on the menu.  When it comes to places like this I tend to look at ingredients over calories, richness, carbs and fat. I want to taste the amazing ingredients that are often not available in my kitchen (although I know they should be) or at most restaurants.  My picks include:

  • Apps, Sides, and Salads: Sardine Toast – can’t say I like sardines, but they are loaded with Omega 3s and this preparation makes me want to try again! Patty Pan Squash – so seasonal, so sweet, and so darn good. The Big Salad – cause duh, how do you NOT dig into something that includes a Ninja radish.

  • Mains: For Vegetarians, I'd pick the Black Rice (loaded with antioxidants) and for carnivores, the Bar Steak. I just love that the meat is portion controlled at 6 oz. and paired with seasonal peaches and mushrooms. Drooling!

Amy Shapiro is internationally recognized for her individualized, lifestyle-focused approach, which integrates realistic food plans, smart eating habits, and active living. Want to know more about her work? Check out Real Nutrition, her NYC-based private practice dedicated to healthfully and successfully guiding clients to their optimal nutrition, weight, and overall wellness.

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