Bandera Restaurant: “A Prime Time Spot”


Many people dine out on a regular basis…for social reasons (fun) or work reasons (travel for conferences and luncheons or dinners out with co workers) or because you don’t like to cook (or know what to cook). I enjoy a healthy, home cooked meal, but who doesn’t love the pleasure of dining out?!!


I like to consider dining out as part of my “job description,” being a Registered Dietitian. It’s important to know which restaurants are healthy, the variety of menu options and if they’re nutritionally balanced and most importantly, assessing the flavor and texture of the food and color of the entree as a whole. For example, are there bright, vibrant colors on the plate, or is the plate filled with mostly “white starches?” More recently I have been going to a restaurant called Bandera. It has a great ambience (live jazz band) and the food and drinks are delicious!!!

Many people are concerned that they will gain weight while dining out because they are not in control of how the food is prepared and more importantly, what the food is cooked with (butter versus lard versus olive oil). There are many ways you can dine out and maintain a healthy weight. It goes back to my motto of “balance.” Moderation in all things is key to a healthy, sustainable weight and diet. I am an expert on dining out strategies, which I’d be happy to discuss with you on a one-on-one basis (individual nutrition consultation).

A few of my favorite things on the menu at Bandera are the following:


1)    Starters: I recommend the Focaccia and cornbread plate: The focaccia bread is slightly grilled with olive oil, and the cornbread is baked in a skillet with small bits of jalapeno to give it just the right kick! It is paired with a delicious scoop of fresh avocado salsa (high in potassium to help lower your blood pressure) and a few olives (rich in monounsaturated fats which help to lower your LDL “bad” cholesterol).

2)    Entrees: I recommend the Macho Salad! This really is a “macho” salad because it contains so many different nutrients, color and variety! It contains leafy greens, grilled chicken, tomatoes, avocados, goat cheese, dates, slivered almonds, and jalapeno cornbread croutons (made fresh from the same bread discussed above). I’m confident in saying that it’s one of my favorite salads ever!

3)    Sides: I recommend the kale peanut coleslaw. This is refreshing and delicious. It provides the perfect crunch with a punch! All of these foods leave you feeling light and don’t give you that “extremely full/heavy” feeling that many restaurants make you feel after dining out! (Please see photo above).

4)    From the cocktail list, it’s really up to you. But please note that alcohol provides 7 calories per gram, so if you’re watching your weight limit sugary drinks that can add up to 300+ calories per drink. Bandera provides fresh squeezed juices as well (the grapefruit is my favorite).


The ambience is great after a long, hard work week! I do not believe in deprivation diets and I think it’s great to dine out and try new foods when you can! It gives your body the variety of nutrients it needs. Your body requires different foods to stimulate your metabolism and digestion, just as your body desires alternative exercise regimens to train different muscles so that you don’t plateau.


To learn more about healthy restaurants in Los Angeles, and dining out strategies to maintaining a healthy weight, contact Courtney Walberg, Registered Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer and Founder of Nutrition For Body And Mind.