How Do I Choose A Healthier Restaurant Food?

by Paula | December 6, 2013 1:00 am

When you eat in restaurants you are at the mercy of the menu and preparation process in managing calories, salt, sugar and saturated fats. But, there are basic choices that can help you manage the results.

– If eating Mexican food, choose corn tortillas over white for a reduction of calories (about 300 calories) and sodium (about 700 milligrams). Don’t fill your burrito with rice which only increases the carb totals, sour cream and cheese. Use vegetables to fill the wrap.

-Don’t pick salad bar choices that are mayonnaise based such as Waldorf or chicken salad. Steer away from creamy salad dressing and choose oil based varieties for lower calories and saturated fats. Leave the croutons in the carafe. Sprinkle some Parmesan on top and 1 tsp sesame seeds instead.

-Choose oatmeal (minus the brown sugar, 1/4 cup nuts or dried fruit) instead of any white bagel, breakfast bread or muffin. A Cinnabon cinnamon roll has 820 calories and is loaded with sodium.

-If partaking in Chinese food, don’t order General Chows Chicken. Loaded with salt and other fillers, it can be a sodium and calorie bomb. Look on the menu for steamed vegetables, or explain to the server that you have health issues that require specialized content. Try steamed brown rice and low-sodium soy sauce.

-Avoid pretzel stands if you want to control your calorie intake. They can total upwards of 800 calories. Look for a deli-style option where you can order sandwich meat and load on the tomato, lettuce, even pickles versus mayonnaise and cheese.

-If you’re dying for some ice cream look for lite frozen yogurt. 4oz in one of those tub bowls doesn’t seem like much but that’s one serving size. Flavor with fresh fruit versus candy or syrups. It can save you up to 200 additional calories.

-If pizza is what you desire, thin crust is always best. Move towards a veggie-dominant choice versus ham or pepperoni that is loaded with sodium. Start with a salad with an oil based dressing so you don’t succumb to eating more than you are comfortable with.

-Sushi can be a healthy choice if you choose sashimi versus rolls made with white rice and dynamite sauce (mayonnaise based).

Always be sure to start with a healthy glass of water and put your utensils down between bites. It seems mundane, but slowing your eating process down helps you brain catch up with your digestion. Also, request a to-go box from the start and get extra portions off your plate before you begin. Anyone would have a difficult time pushing away from food that tastes good and is sitting right in front of you. Make eating an experience and not just…something to do.

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