Monday, March 9, 2009

Tips for Eating Out Healthfully!

1. At a burger-type fast food place, the safest choice is a plain salad lettuce and raw vegetable salad with grilled chicken breast.

- Top the salad with a small package of almonds, pecans, or sunflower seeds

- For dressing, stick with 1 tablespoon of oil and vinegar or a light dressing
- Choose vinaigrettes over creamy dressings

- Avoid croutons, cheese, and grilled bread on the side

- Avoid low-fat fruity dressings; they are usually loaded with added sugar

2. Not all salads are healthy
- Specialty salads are often laden with hidden sugars and saturated fats
- Ensure that meats are not breaded or cooked in butter before ordering

3. At a sit-down chain restaurant, a grilled or broiled lean protein, along with steamed, grilled or roasted vegetables on the side, is the most satisfying and healthy meal to order.

- The best protein sources to order at dinner chain restaurants are usually grilled chicken, grilled/broiled fish or shellfish, without added sauces or butter rub

- An appropriate protein portion should be about the size of your palm. ½ of a large portion may be immediately placed in a to go box before you enjoy the meal

- Bread and chips are mindless filler
- Layered, stuffed, or caked (like crab cake) meat dish are usually cooked with white flour and saturated fats

4. Avoid buffets like shark-infested waters!

- It’s nearly impossible to control exercise self control with a variety of foods easily accessible; many studies support this fact

- When at a buffet, load your plate with available raw vegetables and top with the grilled chicken, a hard-boiled egg and nuts

5. Limit alcohol in general. If you have a drink, enjoy it during or after the meal, not before.

- Alcohol limits inhibitions, it is harder to make the right food choices after a beer

- One glass of wine or beer may be enjoyed with or after dinner

- Most alcoholic beverages, especially mixed drinks, provide unneeded energy and may limit the body's ability to absorb vitamins

6. Look up the menu online before leaving; find a meal that includes a healthy source of protein (such as fish, chicken or legumes) and is low in saturated fats and carbohydrates. Make your choice before leaving home. Click here to search for the calories and other nutritional information of your favorite dishes!

7. In the case of a planned dinner or party, eat a small portion of protein before leaving home. Have a chicken breast the size of your palm to reduce hunger while waiting for you meal. This preventive strategy will allow you to refrain from unhealthy appetizers.

8. Always carry your own tuna or salmon (milder) packets and/or nuts in your gym bag, briefcase, or car. Yes, you'll be ridiculed , but you will also be able to order a plain salad and top it with a healthy protein source.

9. Stay hydrated with water throughout the day and at the dinner table. Thirst is sometimes mistaken for hunger.

10. Traditional desserts of any kind are not your friend (unless it's your birthday :-). If other diners are indulging, order a decaffeinated coffee.