Celebrity Chef Daniel Green On How To Circumnavigate Calories In Sticky Situations

Tastemakers

September 4, 2018 | BY Samantha Lim

We've all been there! Despite wanting to stick to a clean eating routine, circumstance pitches a curveball our way. What do you say when a family member hands you a humongous hunk of cake? Or when healthy snack options are stark at the convenience store? Chef Daniel Green advices how best to handle sticky situations—while still adhering to proper etiquette.

The 'Model Cook,' Daniel Green's other moniker, cleverly underscores his good looks and healthy cooking in just two words. But the cook book author and culinary judge for US Food Network's 'Kitchen Inferno' hadn't always been healthy—in fact, clean eating is what helped him lose 65 pounds 30 years ago.

Recently in town as a guest of St Regis Kuala Lumpur, Green was commissioned to craft guilt-free menus for the new Iridium Spa Suite Retreats. "Teaming up with the St Regis is easy, especially when you have access to the best ingredients from all over the world," said Green. But what if one lacks such liberties? 

Parading several sticky situations before Green, we asked him to propose the best means of steering clear of empty calories:

It’s your daughter/son’s birthday bash. Mum has dimmed the lights and brought out a magnificent cake covered with white frosting. ‘Happy Birthday’ is sung, candles are blown out, and the cake is cut. Plates are passed around, and an especially large piece of cake is handed directly to you. What do you say?

I would start offering the slice to the other guests. “No, you have it! No, you have it!” Or I might just have the whole slice. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do, so you might as well profit and enjoy it to the fullest! You’re going to have the day off or a meal off at some point, so I’d use this instance and be good again tomorrow. That’s how I’d realistically do it.

It’s your mate’s stag do and everyone has broken out the bottles of whiskey, rum, vodka, and tequila, as well as sugary mixers like sodas and juice. What do you mix?

Shots! Or whiskey straight. Also, because I don’t have much sugars in my food, I definitely enjoy my wine. Again, it’s about moderation.

See also: Here's the bitter truth about our most popular sweetener

You’re hosting a couple from Uganda and in order to show their appreciation, they insist on cooking you a sumptuous meal. What’s on the menu? Heavy stews thickened with maize flour, deep-fried fish, fatty cuts of mutton, and starchy/sugary fruit such as bananas and pineapples. What do you do?

Even with stodgy foods on the table, you can still tweak what ends up on your plate. If the meal were being served buffet style, you would still have the liberty of choice and could still do pretty well. You can pick out the proteins, which may not be lean, but still wouldn’t do too much damage. Avoid fried stuff such as the fish but go for the other proteins and avoid all carbs. This rule also applies to airport lounges—you can still find the odd thing if you know what you’re looking for.

See also: Meet these 6 health café owners in KL and check out their best-selling dishes

You’re driving on a highway in America, heading from the East Coast to the West Coast, and time is of the essence. With no time to stop for proper meals, you’ll have to rely on convenience store snacks. What do you get?

To keep going, I’d stock up on almonds or other kinds of nuts because they are always available. Despite the high fat content, they fill you up better than potato chips. America has also changed, so you’re likely to find a sushi box or prepackaged hard-boiled eggs. I always find a way around it.

You’re staying in an Airbnb in the middle of nowhere and the weather outside is foul. This means you have to cook in tonight. Items you find in the ill-stocked pantry include: sugary cereal, frozen pizza, ramen noodles, cocktail peanuts, and dried fruit. What do you munch on?

The dried fruit and the cocktail peanuts are the lesser evil! My other back up would be good ol’ eggs—every pantry should have some.
 
I like your questions because it was only the first instance—the one involving family—where I didn't have much of a choice. Other than that, you most certainly do!

Iridium Spa's Suite Retreat is a holistic integration of bespoke treatments. Feel the effects of the scientifically proven LPG Endermologie treatment; experience ESPA products containing the purest natural extracts; exercise with a FISAF certified trainer; and enjoy Daniel Green's 'Guilt-free Gourmet Dining' when you sign up for the 1, 3 or 5-day retreats. Call 03-2727 6666 or email thebrasserie@stregis.com to reserve your spot.

See also: A review of The Mandarin Oriental KL facial spa that instantly wipes age & fatigue off your face

Related Stories