Staying Healthy While Eating Out
If you have kids you probably don't eat out nearly as much as you used to, but if you do and you have the kids in tow, you may not be going to the healthiest places to eat. When you do get to go on your own, there are still fewer healthy choices than not. So what do you do? Here are some tips for staying healthy while eating out.
Fast food joints: Yes, those cheeseburgers and fries are drool-inducing temptations. And indulging once in a while is probably not that big of a deal. However, if you frequent fast food places on a regular basis, you may want to start incorporating some healthier choices.
There are some fast food places that have many more healthy options than others. CBS News reports that some of the healthier choices include Panera Bread, Au Bon Pain, Noodles and Company, and, yes, McDonalds. Granted, there are unhealthy foods also offered at these establishments, but they also offer whole grains, salads, grilled chicken, and other healthful options.
Here are a few tips:
- Do order fruits and baked chips as sides
- Don't snack off your kids' meals
- Do order dressing on the side for salads
- Don't opt for the greasy offerings; try baked potatoes, fresh sandwiches, salads, and grilled meat
- Do check out nutritional information online before you head out
Other restaurants: Other restaurants may offer more healthy options. Of course, if you hit a BBQ place, your choices may be pretty limited. But there's always something that's better than something else!
Look for whole grains and lots of veggies. If you eat meat, the portion should be smaller than your side veggie. Some nutrition gurus suggest your portion size should equal the size of your palm or fist. If your meal comes and the portions are super-human, take the leftovers home.
Here are a few tips:
- Do look for symbols on the menu that indicate whether a meal is “light” or “heart healthy”
- Don't feel like you need to clean your plate (besides, that overstuffed feeling is not fun!)
- Do ask for a to-go container before you start eating, and put what you plan to take home in the container right away
- Don't always overload on cheese, rich sauces, red meat, and fried foods; eat these foods sparingly
- Do ask for half sizes – they may not always accommodate you, but it doesn't hurt to ask