top of page

Restaurant Eating Guide and Fish Chowder Recipe!

This Instant Pot Fish Stew is inspired by the Brazilian dish moqueca, combining coconut milk, tomatoes, and spices to form a richly flavorful stew. Great for diets such as keto, low carb, paleo, and gluten free.


Stew Base:

1 onion, finely chopped (I use a yellow onion)

1 red bell pepper, sliced

5 cloves garlic, minced (I use a garlic press)

14 oz wt. canned crushed tomatoes (I use half of a 28 oz wt. can)

1 cup seafood or fish broth

3/4 cup canned full-fat coconut milk

2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tsp table salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp ground cayenne (this yields mild spiciness)

For Finishing:

1.5 lb fresh or thawed white fish. Use a firm white fish like cod or halibut is ideal; I have made this with shrimp, lobster and can use more delicate fish like tilapia if you don’t mind some pieces falling apart during cooking.

2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley leaves


  1. Add all stew base ingredients to the pressure cooker pot (I use a 6-quart Instant Pot), and stir until well-mixed.

  2. Secure and seal the lid. Cook for 10 minutes at high pressure. While waiting for it to cook, proceed to the next step to prepare the fish.

  3. Remove any skin and bones from the fish, and pat dry with paper towels if moist. Cut into roughly 1 inch pieces. Set aside.

  4. After pressure cooking has completed, let it naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. Then manually release remaining pressure.

  5. Uncover, and turn on the saute mode on the pressure cooker for medium heat to bring to a boil. Let the stew boil for about 10 minutes to thicken into a stew-like consistency, stirring frequently.

  6. Stir in the fish until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork and is no longer translucent.

  7. Turn off the saute mode. Stir in coconut oil and lime juice until combined. Serve in bowls, and top with chopped cilantro or parsley. The soup will be very hot, so let it cool 10 minutes before enjoying.

  8. Leftovers: Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or bring to a simmer on the stovetop (avoid overheating, which will overcook the fish). This stew often tastes better the next day, after the flavors have gotten acquainted with each other.


Check out my current promotion for my up and coming program!!!


20 Clever Tips to Eat Healthy When Eating Out

Eating out is both fun and sociable. However, studies have linked dining out with overeating and poor food choices. These will help you stick to your health goals without having to give up your social life.

1. Read the Menu Before You Go

If you're not familiar with the menu, read it before you get to the restaurant. You're more likely to make unhealthy choices when hungry or distracted .

The sight and smell of food can make sticking to a plan more difficult, especially if you are hungry . Choosing your food before you arrive makes it easier to avoid snap decisions you might regret later.

Do your research and look up the nutritional information before you go so you understand what you are taking in..but be warned because the accuracy of this information may not always be spot on. September episode “Beware are calories always accurate”.

2. Have a Healthy Snack Before You Arrive

If you're hungry when you arrive at a restaurant, you may end up eating too much. One way to prevent this is to eat a healthy snack before you get there.

A low-calorie, high-protein snack like yogurt could make you feel more full and help prevent overeating . Have a BINGE BLOCKER.

3. Drink Water Before and During Your Meal

Water is a fantastic choice for drinking before and with a meal, especially if you drink it instead of sugar-sweetened drinks.

Replacing sugar-sweetened drinks with water can help reduce your intake of calories and added sugar. One study showed that people on a diet who drank 16oz of water half an hour before a meal ate fewer calories and lost 44% more weight than those who didn't.

4. Check How Food is Cooked and Prepared The way food is cooked can have a significant impact on the number of calories it contains. Look for food that has been steamed, grilled, roasted or poached. In general, these cooking methods equate to less fat and therefore fewer calories.

Foods that are described on the menu as pan-fried, fried, crispy, crunchy or sautéed will usually contain more fat and more calories. Avoid creamy bases and cheese sauces. Always assume everything has butter on it, so ask to omit the butter.

5. Try Eating Your Meal Mindfully

Mindful eating means making conscious choices about what you consume and giving your full attention to the eating process.

Take the time to savor the aromas and flavors of your meal, as well as thoughts and feelings that arise while you eat .

Mindful eating has been linked with healthier food choices in restaurants. It can also help improve your self-control and prevent you from overeating.

We are socializing and not paying attention, make an effort to look at your portions and be aware of what you are doing.

6. Order Your Meal Before Everyone Else

Other people can influence our decisions without us really noticing. In social situations, people tend to mimic each other subconsciously, and dining out is no exception.

People's menu choices and eating behaviors can be highly influenced by the choices of other people at the table.

If you're eating with a group that is likely to order something that doesn't fit into your healthy eating plan, make sure you order first.

7. Order an Appetizer Instead of a MainDish

Studies show that people are more likely to overeat when they're served bigger portions. If you are going to a restaurant where you know the portions are huge, try ordering two appetizers instead of the main course.

This can help you fill up without going overboard with the calories.

8. Slow Down and Chew Thoroughly

Chewing your food thoroughly and eating slower could help you eat less. It can also make you feel full more quickly.

When you're eating, try counting a minimum number of chews per mouthful to stop yourself from eating too quickly.

Putting your utensils down between mouthfuls is also a good way to slow down and give your satiety signals some time to kick in.

9. Have a Cup of Coffee Instead of Dessert

Skip dessert and order a coffee instead.

As well as seriously cutting calories and added sugar, you'll also get some of the great health benefits associated with coffee.

10. Avoid All-You-Can-Eat Buffets or Family Style Setups

People are notoriously bad at estimating portion sizes.

So when you are faced with an unlimited supply of food at a buffet, eating the right amount can be challenging. If you're stuck with a buffet as your only choice, using a smaller plate might help you eat less.

Another effective trick is to use a normal-sized plate and fill half of it with salad or vegetables, or start by piling your plate full of the fibrous veggies first.

11. Ask to Make A Healthy Swap

Most people aren't eating enough vegetables. Vegetables are great since they contain very few calories, but lots of healthy fiber and nutrients. For example, broccoli and spinach are extremely low in calories, but high in fiber, vitamin C and all sorts of beneficial plant compounds.

Increasing vegetable intake has also been linked to a reduced risk of many diseases including cancer, obesity, and depression .

When you order your meal, ask the server to swap part of your meal, such as fries or potatoes, for extra vegetables or a salad. You'll boost your vegetable intake and cut your calories. You can even order a pasta dish and ask for broccoli instead!

12. Ask for Sauces or Dressings on the Side

Sauces and dressings can add a lot of extra fat and calories to a dish, so ask for your sauce on the side. For example, two tablespoons of ranch salad dressing will add an extra 140 calories and 16 grams of fat to your meal. Keeping it separate will make it much easier to control the amount you eat.

13. Skip the Pre-Dinner Bread Basket

If you turn up to a restaurant hungry, it's easy to overeat the nibbles provided to you before your meal. If you're easily tempted, send them back.

14. Order a Soup or a Salad to Start instead of an appetizer

Having a soup or a salad before your main course can stop you from eating too much. Generally, the options can be healthier and the portions are more controlled.

Studies looking at the effects of eating soup before a meal have shown that it can reduce your total calorie intake by 20%.

The type of soup didn't make a difference, so any soup of the day can be a really healthy option.

15. Share with Someone Else (or Order a Half Portion)

A study of people who successfully lost weight and kept it off showed that they often shared food or ordered half a portion when eating out. It's a simple way to cut back on calories and prevent overeating.

If you have nobody to share with, you can ask the waiter to wrap up half your meal for you to take home. Chipotle Burrito Bowl for 800 calories can be two meals!

16. Avoid Sugar-Sweetened Drinks

Many of us have too much sugar in our diets, and it can be quite bad for us. One source of sugar that we really don't need is sugar-sweetened drinks . Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is strongly linked with an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

If you want to make a healthy drink choice while dining out, stick to water or unsweetened tea.

17. Choose Small Measures of Alcohol and Low-Calorie Mixers

Drinking alcohol can add a significant number of calories to your meal. The number of calories in an alcoholic drink varies depending on the strength of the alcohol and the size of the drink.

For example, a large glass of red wine, which is about 1 cup (250 ml) and 13% alcohol by volume, can add around 280 calories to your meal. That's the same as a Snickers chocolate bar.

If you want to enjoy a drink, you can cut back on the extra calories by ordering smaller measures, such as a small glass of wine.

If you're making mixed drinks with spirits such as gin, vodka or whiskey, try mixing the spirit with a diet drink instead of a sugar-sweetened drink or fruit juice.

18. Go for Tomato-Based Sauces Over Creamy Ones

Choose tomato- or vegetable-based sauces over creamy or cheese-based ones to help cut the calories and fat from your meal. They'll also add more healthy vegetables to your diet.

19. Watch Out For Health Claims

Dietary labels can find their way onto restaurant menus. You might see a meal highlighted as "paleo," "gluten-free" or "sugar-free."

These labels don't necessarily mean a choice is healthy. Added sugars and fats can be hidden in these foods to make them taste better.

Even so-called "sugar-free" cakes and sweets may still contain added "natural" sugars. These are still added sugars — they're just not the table sugar or high fructose corn syrup traditionally used in cakes and candy.

For example, agave nectar is commonly found in "healthy" dishes, but is just as unhealthy as regular sugar, if not more.

To be certain, read the menu description thoroughly. Added sugars can hide in many places. When in doubt, ask your server.

20. Think About Your Whole Diet

There will be times when you want to eat your favorite food for pleasure and not worry about whether it is healthy or not.

Being flexible about your diet and food choices is linked with better overall health and weight management. It's helpful to think about how a meal fits into your diet overall.

If you are following healthy meal patterns most of the time, go ahead and treat yourself. An occasional indulgence can be good for the soul. Furthermore eating out should be an occasional splurge. No matter what does it too often will in fact compromise your weight loss success rate, so make your choices wisely!


Everyone knows how to lose weight... but how to keep it off is the unknown by so many! Sign up for my free seminar at Algonquin Library on March 30 and learn how to keep that weight off for good!


345 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page