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Eating Out Healthier (1361 hits)

Making the commitment to eat healthier doesn’t mean you have to give up dining out. While research shows that we tend to order less nutritious foods (and drinks) when we eat out, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid restaurants to keep on track with a healthier diet.

Between busy schedules, social gatherings, business meetings, and more, it may be difficult to avoid dining out anyway. The good news is that going out to eat doesn’t have to ruin your diet. In fact, it may be possible to maintain your healthier eating choices whether you dine out or drive through.

Sometimes restaurants’ dishes may sound healthier on the menu when they’re really calorie bombs. Be certain you’re taking advantage of healthier restaurant choices when you order by looking at the restaurant’s nutrition facts. The FDA made this a little easier to do by requiring chain restaurants to list calorie information on menus and menu boards.

Get even more information about what you’re ordering by asking your server for nutrition information or looking for it on the restaurant’s Web site or mobile app.

Whether it’s fast food, fast casual, or another chain restaurant, don’t just look at the calorie count—look for healthier menu options that are lower in saturated fat and sodium, too.

Although not all restaurants are required to have nutrition information readily available, especially locally owned or smaller restaurants, you can still make healthier choices when you dine out. Here’s how.

•Lighten up your coffee. Dressing your coffee up with some milks and sweeteners can add unnecessary fat, sugar, and calories to your java. Make your coffee shop run a little healthier by opting for 1% or non-fat milk, low-fat soy or almond milk, sugar-free syrups, and skipping whipped cream.

•Start with a salad appetizer. Not only will you get your fill of veggies, but it can also help you feel satisfied sooner.

•Ask for sauce on the side. Getting dressing, butter, sauce, cream cheese, and gravy served on the side can help you control how much is on your dish and allow you to use it sparingly.

•Not all protein is created equal. Protein has become a nutrition buzzword, which has led some restaurants to point out high-protein menu items. But some high-protein foods might be healthier than others if they also contain healthy fats and fiber. Look for lean or low-fat meat and poultry, fish, beans, and nuts to get your healthier protein fix.

•Beware of high-sodium code words, including pickled, cocktail sauce, smoked, in broth or au jus, or in soy or teriyaki sauce.

•Request healthier substitutions. Instead of French fries or onion rings, swap them for a baked potato with vegetables and low-fat or fat-free sour cream. Think twice about adding cheese, butter, or bacon on your spud.

•Creatively control your portions. Restaurant plates and portions tend to be large, but check the menu for appetizers you can have as entrees or half portions section of dishes—they’re smaller than regular entrees. Or, if there isn’t an age restriction, tap into your inner child and order from the kids’ menu since those meals are also typically smaller.

Planning ahead and being choosy about what you order at restaurants can help ensure the meals you eat away from home don’t hurt your healthier diet.

Posted By: Elynor Moss
Monday, October 16th 2017 at 2:02PM
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