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healthy food choices

Healthy Restaurant Dining

When dining out, we are faced with many tempting food selections. This post offers straightforward tips for making healthy food choices when ordering a meal in a restaurant.

1. Ask how the food is prepared and take your time when ordering.

2. The more simply something is prepared, the more control you have over what you are eating. Choose plain baked, broiled, grilled, roasted, poached, or steamed food without added sauces or gravy.

3.  Ask for butter, sauce, gravy, sour cream and salad dressing to be served on the side so you can control how much of it you add to your food.  

4. Avoid foods that are breaded, deep fried, sautéed, scalloped, creamed, in cheese sauce, or prepared with mayonnaise. Ask that the chef to prepare your food with very little butter or oil or none at all.

5. Ask how large the serving size is. If the meal is large, ask that half of it arrive on your plate and the other half be given to you in a take-out bag to go. This way you can stretch the meal into two meals.

6. Ask that bread not be served or if a bread basket is brought to the table, take one piece and then have your server take the rest of the bread away.

7. Order an appetizer and a small salad instead of an entrée or share an entrée with your dining companion.

8. Be selective at salad bars. Choose fresh greens, raw vegetables, fresh fruits, and low fat or fat free salad dressings. Avoid salads prepared with mayonnaise.

9. Order healthy side dishes such as vegetables or a baked potato.

10. Skip dessert, share a dessert, or order fruit (even if you don’t see it listed on the menu) for dessert.

11. Limit yourself to one or two alcoholic beverages.

12. Ask for fat-free or 1% milk so you can add it to your coffee instead of cream or half-and-half.

13. Try to avoid restaurants that offer all-you-can-eat buffets because you’re more likely to eat more food (and more calories) than you need. ShrimpDish494

14. You can always try virtual reality dining, an experiment in its early stages which includes virtual reality headsets, along with food aromas, to make users  think that they are enjoying a range of delicious foods such as lasagne and steak.

Please leave a comment or question. What is your greatest challenge when dining out?  What type of ethnic restaurants do you prefer?  What future food related topics would you like to read more about in future posts?



Nutritious Meals – Finding Healthy Balance

My last blog was about making healthy food choices in 2015 with an emphasis on portion control.  This post continues along these lines, as greater awareness allows us to make healthier, more satisfying choices for either maintaining or losing weight.

As a registered dietitian in private practice for 10 years, the majority of my physician referred clients came to me with a diagnosis of obesity, overweight, or type 2 diabetes.

I would like to offer some valuable, simple, and straightforward suggestions that I shared with my clients over the years.

1. Use smaller plates to help control portion sizes, calories, and overeating. Having a large plate full of food will most likely lead to eating the entire thing — and that’s often more food than necessary. An option is to have two plate sizes. If you’re eating very healthy food opt for the bigger plate, if it’s a less healthy meal, use the smaller plate.

2. Use a measuring cup to determine how much liquid your various drinking cups and glasses actually hold. Cups and glasses come in many different sizes and this can sometimes be misleading. A short glass can sometimes hold as much liquid as a tall glass. A tall glass can sometimes hold more or less liquid than we think.

3. Use non­-see through containers for storing high calorie snacks, binge foods, and leftovers. If you are likely to open the cupboard or refrigerator and get hit in the face with something you just can’t resist, (the candy, cookies, or snacks you keep on hand for when company comes, for example,) storing these items in a non-see through container might be just the solution.

4. Go out to enjoy your favorite high calorie foods and desserts rather than bringing them home. For example, go out for ice cream or cake, occasionally, instead of bringing it in to the house. Although it will cost you more, you are deliberately making it less convenient for yourself to access these foods, which you would likely overeat if you invite them to live in your kitchen.                                                                                                                                                                                                             

5. Certain colors have been shown to diminish appetite. Gray, brown, black and blue are all colors that have a tendency to decrease appetite. Red and yellow tend to have the opposite effect. It is recommended that those looking to maintain a healthy calorie intake buy plates that are crafted in gray, brown, black or blue as opposed to red or yellow.

6. Fruit juices contain a lot of calories from natural sugar, even if no sugar is added. This is why I always recommend avoiding fruit juices whenever possible and consuming fresh fruit instead. Fresh fruit contains fiber which is filling, and because we have to chew it, fresh fruit has much more satiety value than fruit juice. Whenever possible, I recommend calorie free beverages, water in particular.

7. Don’t skip meals. Eat every 3-5 hours if possible. Three meals a day or three smaller meals and two small snacks, for example, is beneficial for the efficient burning of calories. When we skip meals, we tend to overeat when mealtime comes, and our metabolism also tends to be slower because we skipped a meal.

8. When reading food labels, make sure to look at the serving size since nutrition information is given per serving. Look for calories, grams and percent of fat and sugar, and milligrams of sodium. If you plan to consume more than a single serving in one sitting, make sure to do the math.

Please leave a comment, ask a question, and/or share the tips that work for you below.

Bon Appetit!