Let’s Go Out For…German

What to Know    What to Eat    Menu Decoder

Traditional German food is hearty fare — especially when you're in a stateside restaurant.  However, you can make some smart decisions that will help trim SmartPoints values while boosting nutrition.

Appetizers

Herring salad

Herring salad
This healthful salad of herring with chopped beets and onions is often served with lettuce or greens. We love this choice for its beautiful acidity and freshness. Stick to an appetizer portion and you'll take in about 4 SmartPoints value per serving. Choose carefully from the traditional toppings, as sour cream and oil can add additional SmartPoints values. 

German potato pancakes

German potato pancakes
These medallions of pan-fried mashed potatoes held together with flour make a reasonably good compromise as a first course; each 3-inch pancake includes less than 4 grams of fat for 3 SmartPoints value. A typical portion is three pancakes, often served with radish for crunch. Choose carefully from the traditional toppings: A dollop of sour cream can tack on another 1 SmartPoints value. (Applesauce has 0.)

Liptauer

Liptauer
A vegetarian cheese spread of farmer’s cheese with lemon juice, seasoning and herbs, this shareable app is a winner for its flexible portion size and big flavor. Figure on 1 SmartPoints value for each tablespoon. Lighten it up: Watch where you spread: bread has 2 SmartPoints values per slice, but fresh, crunchy vegetable sticks are a great alternative. Enjoy the traditional side of red onion, also 0 SmartPoints values.

Potato leek soup

Potato leek soup
Roasted leeks with potato, garlic, caraway, shallot, and a spritz of white wine and vegetable stock — the starch of the potatoes makes this puréed soup wonderfully creamy in texture without a lot of added dairy. If you're using a dried version that you add water to, it's typically about 4 SmartPoints value per cup. At a restaurant with unknown additional amounts of butter and cream, a single serving could clock in at 16 SmartPoints value. 

Entrées

 Schnitzel

Schnitzel
Pan-frying makes this crispy, breaded pork, chicken, or veal cutlet a splurge. A restaurant serving, about 4 to 6 ounces, will have a SmartPoints value of 13 to 20.

Spätzle

Spätzle
Spätzle is a low-fiber, high-carb dish that is usually topped with butter, so if you're going to have it, pass on the bread and potatoes elsewhere. Dressed lightly with butter or olive oil, a typical 5-ounce portion has a SmartPoints value of 12.

 Weisswurst

Weisswurst
This pale-colored link of finely ground veal is a winner among wursts, partly because it is prepared by boiling. One portion of weisswurst (one large or two small links) has a SmartPoints value that ranges from 7 to 13. The traditional accompaniments include mustard, pickles and a soft pretzel, which will add at least 4 SmartPoints value.

 Trout fillets

Trout fillets
Trout, a traditional fave, is a good entrée option — but pan-frying adds fat. A typical 5-ounce trout fillet includes 32 to 37 grams of protein, with a total of about 5 SmartPoints value. Stick with one fillet, or plan to share a whole fish. Fortunately, trout often arrives with healthful sides, like greens or lentils, which are filling and high in fiber, with just 3 SmartPoints value in half a cup.

 Crispy pork knuckle

Crispy pork knuckle
Splurges don't get much bigger than this classic — a chunk of pork, flavored with caraway, garlic, and pepper, and slow-roasted until the skin is crunchy. This tasty cut, called schweinshaxe, is actually a bone-in slice of the lower leg. Minus the bone, you can count on a hearty 8 ounces of pork, for around 7 to 11 SmartPoints value. This dish is ideal for sharing, so be smart and cut your SmartPoints values in half with a pal.

Sides

 Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut 
This sour-tasting side is a great choice. Traditional sauerkraut, in which the cabbage has been naturally fermented by lactic acid bacteria, has 0 SmartPoints value and is packed with fiber. A 5-ounce serving also includes about 30 percent of your daily allowance of Vitamin C. Just be careful: the curing process relies on salt so that same portion also packs nearly 1000 milligrams of sodium. Additionally, if it's prepared with bits of smokes sausage, account for additional SmartPoints values. 

Tip: Ask for cold ‘kraut, because heating it uses oil.

Red cabbage

Red cabbage
This flavorful side dish of cabbage cooked with apples and cloves has about 1 SmartPoints value for a scoop. Red cabbage offers more Vitamin C of the usual green variety, and that vivid violet hue comes from anthocyanin pigments, which in combination with other compounds in fruits and vegetables, may have cancer-fighting properties. As with sauerkraut, opt for the cold variety to keep it lighter.

Desserts 

Apple strudel

Apple strudel
You can call this whatever you want, but we like to call it a pie. A typical restaurant serving  (about 6 oz.) will average a SmartPoints value of 19. If you want to indulge in this flaky dessert, avoid the extras; a hearty dollop (about 2 Tbsp) of whipped cream will add 5 SmartPoints value, and a half a cup of ice cream can add as many as 8, especially if premium.

Apricot turnover

Apricot turnover
It may not be as famous as strudel, but it’s a better choice if you’re in the mood for dessert. The turnover is a clear winner over strudel for portion size alone. A typical fruit turnover has a SmartPoints value of just 8.

Beer

Beer

Typical German beer offers 5 SmartPoints value per 12-ounce glass. In addition to the generic term "lager," you might see helles for light beer, weiss or weizen to denote cloudy wheat beers, and dunkel referring to dark beer. Dunkel is worth a try: the roasting of malt, much like coffee, imparts the beer with bold and chocolaty flavors, but no additional calories.

 Wine Wine
Germany offers world-class wines from its star grape: Riesling. These lively white wines showcase lots of acidity, perfect to cut through fatty foods. A glass will have 4 SmartPoints value. 

*Given that ingredients, cooking methods and portion sizes can vary greatly among restaurants, all SmartPoints® values for restaurant dishes are estimates.