The Natural Health and Holistic World According to Dr Akilah El
March 26, 2011
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Healthy Dine-out Tips
Before you go
- Know what your restaurant options are – around your office and around your home. This way, you can decide which restaurants offer healthy choices.
- If you are busy and eat out often, avoid considering dining out a special occasion. When we think of dining out as a special occasion or celebration, we tend to overeat and indulge in foods that we may not otherwise eat.
- Budget your calories throughout the day: if you know that you are going out to eat for dinner, try to reduce your intake at breakfast and lunch so you can “save” some of your calories for when you dine out.
- However, you may want to have a small snack (such as a fruit with cheese or a small handful of nuts) to help curb your appetite before dining out to help you avoid eating too much at your meal.
- If you know where you will dine out, look up the menu (and nutrition information, if available) online and decide what you will eat before you get to the restaurant. This way you are in control to choose a lower calorie, lower fat meal option and are not overwhelmed by the menu options and careless about eating healthy when you arrive at the restaurant hungry.
What to Choose?
- Avoid fried and battered foods such as calamari, tempura, chicken, chicken strips and certain Chinese dishes. Instead, ask for special requests for your meal: most restaurants are accommodating and will prepare your meal as you like: ask for grilled, broiled, roasted or steamed meats and vegetables. Asking for a side of steamed vegetables, salad or a baked potato instead of french fries can help cut calories and fat while increasing your intake of healthy nutrients!
- When ordering salad, order your dressing on the side to limit your fat and calorie intake. However, be careful not to pour all of the dressing provided over your salad, it is often more than what you would normally get on a salad with the dressing. Depending on how hungry you are, a salad may be enough to satisfy your appetite (but make sure it includes some lean meat or fish for protein)!
- When considering soup, go for the healthier, low fat options of broth based soups loaded with vegetables, beans (such as kidney, black, pinto or garbanzo), and whole grains (such as barley).
At the Restaurant
- Split your meal with a friend or family member. Most restaurants serve portions that are two to three times what we need! Otherwise, have the serving staff put half of the meal in a to-go box before it is brought to the table.
- Avoid all the extras, as these calories add up quickly: bread and butter on the table, sweetened drinks, appetizers, side items and desserts. Instead focus on a healthy balance of lean proteins, low fat carbohydrates and fruits and vegetables.