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Southern Food and Eating Clean … In The Same Sentence!

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Southern Food and Eating Clean … In The Same Sentence!
Photo by Ian Bagwell

Editors Note: We’re heading into the holidays, and when it comes to eating, that can often be synonymous with rich, decadent, or heavy.

However, you can have some balance, even when eating out, if you plan a bit. Executive Chef Ted Lahey of Table & Main in Roswell, Ga. might cook some of the most popular fried chicken in the Atlanta metro area, but he always celebrates a seasonal harvest overflowing with fresh vegetables and local proteins. He suggests the following if you’re looking to eat clean:

Focus on the veggies. 
Table & Main prides itself on showcasing the best Southern produce. Appetizers include well-balanced salads such as the butterhead lettuce salad, while sides feature an abundance of seasonal favorites such as pickle plates, roasted beets and winter squash. The seasonal vegetable plate is a meal in itself!

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Southern meals are best enjoyed family style. Keep it light by ordering an array of sides and only a couple of entrees for the table, that way folks can get a taste of everything without filling up too much on the heavy stuff. Same goes for dessert—ask for several spoons to enjoy that chocolate pudding.

Choose lean proteins. 
I try to consciously prepare a variety of healthy entrees, such as scallops with carrot purée, or seared red snapper with shaved squash and zucchini in a pool of tomato water.

Chat with the server. 
He or she is always willing to help you select lighter options. Healthy does not have to mean lacking flavor—in fact, it shouldn’t!

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Ted Lahey