By Chelsea Gloeckner OnMilwaukee contributor Published Sep 19, 2018 at 12:01 PM

One of the best ways to build trust in a business relationship is to share a meal together.

Taking clients out for lunch has been shown to have a positive effect on business deals, and sitting down over a meal with a client has a meaningful purpose, founded on the idea of reciprocation. According to influence and persuasion expert Robert Cialdini, reciprocation is one of the greatest influencers of human nature. So taking someone out to lunch, with no expectation or implication that she’ll buy the next one, can make your client more likely to return a bigger favor.

But if you’re entertaining clients by eating out a lot, it can be a struggle to choose foods that energize you and put you on top of your business game.

Lucky for us, Milwaukee has so many great local places to eat. So the next time you take a client out to lunch in East Town, try one of these three nutritious strategies to take your business bite to the next level – complete with some examples to help pick your next plate.

1. Watch your words

How your food is described is a great indication of how it was prepared. When you read "breaded," "smothered," "fried," "crispy," "rich," "melted" (as in cheese), "creamy" or "alfredo," think heavy! These foods have a large amount of saturated fat and empty calories to weigh you down.

Stay light on your feet with items that are described as "boiled," "steamed" and "grilled."

  • Zarletti: The Rustica Salad is made with spring greens, grilled onions, potatoes and cherry tomatoes. Skip the crispy pancetta slice and add grilled shrimp, grilled chicken or salmon.
  • Stella Van Buren: Order the Grilled Faroe Island Salmon, which is served with potatoes, grilled asparagus, grapefruit, olive and pistachio.
  • Café at The Pfister: Try the Veggie Wrap, made with grilled portabella, pickled red onion, roasted peppers, arugula, garlic herb goat cheese and balsamic dressing.

2. Give fries the boot and substitute!

We all love fries, don’t we? Unfortunately for all of us, fried food creates inflammation in the body – a no-no if we want to feel and be healthier.

Try substituting French fries, sweet potato fries, chips (even if they’re house made) and loaded baked potatoes with a side salad or a fruit bowl.  

  • Zarletti: All sandwiches come with kettle chips, so simply sub for a side house salad with a balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Stella Van Buren: Order the Mediterranean Branzino sandwich with tomato, lettuce and avocado. Ask for a side salad instead of the chips.
  • Café at The Pfister: Try the Black Bean burger, served on whole wheat Kaiser roll, then substitute the French fries or sweet potato fries for a side of fruit.

3. Dress to impress

Cream-based salad dressings – like ranch, blue cheese and Caesar – are thick with saturated fat. Try healthier dressing options, like balsamic vinaigrette, raspberry vinaigrette and Italian dressing, or simply ask for olive oil and vinegar.

And when it comes to salad dressings, a little goes a long way. Request your salad dressings on the side and only use half.  

  • Zarletti: Instead of a creamy Caesar, try one of the many delightful salads with balsamic or citrus vinaigrettes.
  • Stella Van Buren: The Grilled Shrimp and Avocado Salad includes asparagus and clementine, then is dressed with white balsamic vinaigrette. Skip the crispy shallot on top.
  • Café at The Pfister: When you order the Grilled Salmon Salad, skip the bacon and warm bacon dressing, then add balsamic dressing and avocado. Yum!
Chelsea Gloeckner OnMilwaukee contributor

Chelsea Gloeckner, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and the founder of VICTAE, a nutrition coaching business helping athletes and professionals reach their dreams and goals through practical and proper fueling.

In her life and here content, Chelsea combines her love of nutrition, science, and food to provide a fresh perspective on how to live a full and vibrant life.