Eat Out, Eat Healthy
You can eat out and eat healthy, too. Many restaurants offer tasty meals that are low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. Some choices may not be featured on the menu, but don't be shy about making special requests.
Speak up for special requests
Ask your server if the kitchen can make your meal with low-fat ingredients and less salt or call the restaurant before you decide where to eat to make sure the kitchen is able to make food in a healthy way. Think of yourself as the CEO of the restaurant in this case. It is okay to ask for what you want, especially if you do so ahead of time or at a less busy time of day.
Practice portion control
Equally important is the portion size. Help manage possible overeating by asking for reasonable portions, sharing entrees with a friend, or putting half of your meal in a to-go box. Ask for the container ahead of time and put half in it right away.
Follow these healthy tips when eating away from home:
- Fried versus steamed — Fried, au gratin, crispy, scalloped, pan-fried, sautéed or stuffed foods are high in fat and calories. Instead, look for steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached or roasted foods. You can ask that visible fat be trimmed from meat and skin be removed from poultry before cooking.
- Oil versus butter — Ask that your meal be made with vegetable oil or soft margarine instead of butter. Ask for soft margarine for your bread.
- Sodium — If you are trying to lower the sodium in your foods, keep in mind that foods that contain the most sodium include those that are pickled, in cocktail sauce, smoked, in broth or au jus, or in soy or teriyaki sauce. Ask that your food be made without added salt or MSG, which is high in sodium.
- Sauces — Have gravy, sauces and dressings served on the side, so you can manage the amount you eat—or skip them altogether.
- Milk — Ask for fat-free or one percent milk instead of whole milk.
- Sweets — Even if they aren't listed on the dessert menu, many restaurants offer fruit or sherbet instead of high-fat pastries and ice creams.
- Pre-made entrees — Many supermarkets and specialty stores have pre-made entrees to take home. The same tips for restaurants can also be used when choosing take-home foods.
Remember these tips and you'll know the ins-and-outs of eating healthy, whether dining at a restaurant or taking food home.