Yep, you read that right. It is possible to eat right while on the go. Like most Americans, you probably eat out a lot and have a busy lifestyle. Today, people are always looking for fast, easy and great tasting foods to fit into their hectic schedules. Here are a few tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to help you eat healthy when eating out.
1. Think ahead and plan where you will eat and what you will eat. Consider what the meal options are and look for restaurants or carry-out with a wide range of menu items.
2. Take your time and look over the menu and make careful selections. Many restaurants now offer healthier choices.
3. Read restaurant menus carefully and for clues to fat and calorie content. Some menu terms that can mean less fat and calories are: baked, braised, broiled, grilled, steamed, roasted and poached.
4. Menu terms that can mean more fat and calorie content are: batter-fried, pan-fried, buttered, creamed, crispy and breaded. Choose these items less frequently and in small portions.
5. Order the regular or child size portion. Most restaurants serve mega sized meals and are probably more than you really need. For a lighter meal, opt for an appetizer in place of a main course.
6. It is OK to make special requests. For example, ask for a baked potato or a side salad in place of French fries; no mayo or bacon on your sandwich; sauces served on the side.
7. Hunger can make you eat too much bread or chips before you meal arrives. Ask the server to hold the bread or chips until your meal is served.
8. Think about your food choices for the entire day. If you’re planning a special restaurant meal in the evening, have a light breakfast and lunch to allot for the extra calories.
9. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Alcohol tends to increase your appetite and provides empty calories; calories without nutrients.
10. Craving for dessert? Order one dessert with enough forks for everyone at the table to have a bite.
11. Split your order. Share an extra large sandwich or main course with a friend or take half home for another meal. Bonus here: 2 meals for the price of one.
12. Boost the nutrition in all types of sandwiches by adding tomato, lettuce, peppers, onion or other vegetables.
13. Eat your lower calorie food first like a soup or salad, then follow up with a light main course.
14. Ask for sauces, dressings and toppings to be served on the side. This way you control how much you eat.
15. Pass up all-you-can-eat buffets and unlimited salad bars if you tend to eat too much. If you do choose the buffet, fill up on salads and vegetables first. Take no more than two trips and use the small plate that holds less food.
16. Load up your pizza with vegetable toppings. If you add meat, make it lean ham, Canadian bacon, chicken or shrimp.
17. Look for a sandwich wrap in a soft tortilla. Fillings such as rice mixed with seafood, chicken or grilled vegetables are lower in fat and calories.
18. Build a better breakfast sandwich: replace bacon or sausage with Canadian bacon or turkey sausage and order your sandwich on a whole grain English muffin or bagel.
19. Try a smoothie made with fruit and yogurt for a light lunch or snack.
20. Stressed about what’s for dinner at home? Grab a rotisserie chicken, salad-in-a-bag and freshly baked bread from your supermarket deli.
21. Always eating on the go? Tuck portable, non-perishable foods in your purse, briefcase or backpack for an on-the-run meal. Some examples are peanut butter and crackers, granola bars, piece of fresh fruit, trail mix, single serve packages of whole grain cereal or crackers.
22. Eating at your desk at work? Always keep single serve packages of popcorn, crackers, fresh fruit like oranges, bananas and apples, peanut butter, soup or tuna in your desk for a quick snack and/or lunch.
Eating on the go doesn’t have to sabotage your healthy eating goals; thinking ahead and planning goes a long way. Happy eating and cheers to good health!