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Eating Out the Smart Way

Article courtesy of Tom Pousti, M.D.
July 27, 2011

It’s seem like now-a-days it is getting harder and harder to go out to eat and find any healthy item on the menu. However, restaurants are finally providing healthier options for the health conscious with foods that tastes great without adding inches to your hips and thighs. Let’s review the basic below to help you feel more confident about the choices you make when eating out.
Enjoy, Don’t Indulge

It’s all about portions! Think quality not quantity and keep your meal sizes small by:
  1. Don’t skip meals – Skipping meals during the day just because you know you are going out later will only make you overeat and consume 100’s of extra calories. When skipping meals your body going into what is called “starvation mode” which in turn slows down your metabolism making it harder for you to burn calories and fat through out the day. So make sure to eat small little meals through out the day.
  2. Share dishes – Sharing dishes not only cuts down on portion size of your meal to the appropriate size, it’s cost effective as well.
  3. Skip the pre-dinner bar visit – Try to have reservations if possible, this way you don’t have an opportunity to get a pre-dinner drink at the bar. Drinking before a meal not only make it harder for your body to digest food but it has been proven to increase your appetite witch leads to overeating.
  4. Ask for a To-Go box at the beginning of dinner – Most of us have been taught to eat everything that is on our plate to avoid wastefulness. However, portion sizes have doubled at restaurants leaving us to consume twice the amount of calories. By asking for a To-Go box at the beginning you can put half of your meal away and surprisingly you might feel satisfied after the meal instead of stuffed. PLUS…you have leftovers for the next day!

The Good vs. The Bad
It can also be tricky at times trying to figure out what is healthy versus unhealthy based on how the foods are prepared. You also want to monitor your condiments which can surprisingly be the unhealthy part of the meal. Here are some foods to help you make wiser decisions.

Good Bad
Balsamic vinegar, salsa, soy sauce, tomato sauce, mustard and lemon Ranch dressing, alfredo sauce, vodka sauce, buttery based sauces and creams.
Steamed, fresh, baked, roasted, poached, lightly sauteed or stir fried Fried or sauteed (in butter)
Lean steaks such as tenderloin, club, sirloin and chicken. Fatty cuts of steaks such as rib eye, porterhouse, ribs, and briskets.
Fruit and sorbets Ice cream, milk shakes and pie

What’s for Breakfast, Lunch and Desert?

Here is a quick little reference to help you make more decisions at each meal.

  • Opt for oatmeal, high fiber cereals, over pastries and donuts.
  • Ask for eggs to be prepared poached, scrambled or hard boiled.
  • Choose 100% whole grain or whole wheat toast over white bread.
  • Whole grain pancakes over regular. Top with jelly, low-fat yogurt or fruit..
  • Skip on the muffins (Starbucks banana muffins = 400 calories)
  • Sandwiches on whole grain breads
  • No butter, cheese, mayonnaise, or gravy.
  • Choose turkey or ham, they only contain 1-2 grams of fat per serving unlike salami or pastrami which packs 6-8 grams of fat per serving.
  • For salads, skip the croutons and bacon bits and for sunflower seeds and chicken.
  • Skip the chips and ask for a piece of fruit.
  • Drink water or unsweetened tea instead of soda and fruit juices.

  • Fruit is your best option
  • Sorbets and yogurts
  • ½ cup of cool whip and fresh berries
  • Angel food cake with strawberries (150 calories per serving)

Making these healthy decision will not only help with your waist line but help your heart as well!



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