How to Eat Healthy in Restaurants

By Chrissy MacDonald

A night off from cooking can be a nice break. Eating out in restaurants is no reason to sacrifice healthy eating. I’m a very particular eater and when I have the opportunity to order a meal, I make sure it’s what I want. Here are a few tips for ordering a healthy restaurant meal.

Don’t be afraid to ask for modifications to the standard selections on the menu. You’re paying for the meal so you should get what you want. Of course there are exceptions to this. We went to a restaurant a few years ago that had cheese burgers on the menu. One of the kids wanted a plain hamburger without the cheese. The waitress said they didn’t have plain hamburgers. It had to come with cheese. Of course this was a crazy exception. Most are happy to accommodate personal choices.

Ask how the food is prepared. Avoid animal cooking fats. Most restaurants use vegetable oil now.

Drink lots of water. Have a glass before the meal to take the edge off your hunger.

Have your salad dressing on the side (they usually pour on too much). Choose romaine lettuce and green and red peppers which are more nutritious than head lettuce and celery.

Many entrees are too large. You could order a salad and main course and share it with a friend instead of ordering both for each of you. Or put a portion of the food on a bread plate and ask the waiter to doggy bag it. Do this at the beginning of the meal so you won’t be tempted to pick at it at the end of your meal.

Ask for tomato based sauce for pasta rather than cream based.

At the buffet table, try just a small scoop of each item if you like a variety of different foods.  Watch out for salad toppings. Bacon bits, croutons, salad dressings and cheese can make salads very high in fat and calories.

Use only a thin spread of butter on bread or dip the bread in olive oil which is a healthier fat.

Don’t be taken in by “mega sizing” for a few cents more. Think of all those extra calories you don’t really need.

At fast food sandwich restaurants, try whole wheat tortilla “wraps” with a variety of vegetables and just a bit of meat or cheese. Heat it up to bring out the flavor.

Don’t be “on a diet.” Enjoy the foods you love but learn to modify and substitute or just have a smaller portion with a big salad. You will enjoy the food more because you’re doing your body a big favor and you won’t be overstuffed when you’re finished. Notice how much better you feel physically after eating a modified meal. You’ll feel like going for a nice walk instead of lying down!

The Effects of Nutrition on a Body

By Chrissy MacDonald

The foods we eat have a great effect on our health and well-being. The body is always rebuilding itself so the saying is true that you are what you eat.

The body needs protein, fat and carbohydrates plus all the vitamins and minerals. Our daily food intake must include these in order for us to be completely healthy. If any nutrient is missing from our diet, it can lead to sickness.

Too much junk food, over-processed foods and fried foods can lead to weight problems and imbalances in the body. Foods can even affect your mood and make you tired or excited.

It’s never too late to start eating healthier. Balance, variety and moderation is a good rule. An ideal diet should include fresh foods – fruits and vegetables of different colors, protein sources and various whole grains.

When you go grocery shopping, try to spend most of your time along the outside edges of the store. This is where the “real foods” are such as produce, dairy and meat. In the middle isles you’ll find the over-processed and packaged foods. Try to make most of your diet include foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. For instance, have a baked potato instead of chips. Over-processed foods are likely to lose essential nutrients.

Eating well can sometimes be a challenge. Stress, boredom, loneliness and habit can lead to over eating the wrong kinds of foods. The trick is to pay attention to what you are eating. Find foods you enjoy that are also good for you to substitute for the ones to avoid.

I have found a nice evening snack that’s a good substitute for potato chips or other junk foods. I cut up a nice hard apple like Pink Lady (delicious) in small pieces and eat it with a few dried tart cherries and a cup of peppermint tea. This takes a while to eat so is good if you’re watching a tv show. I’ve also found that a Werthers candy after supper is a good substitute for dessert.

We must include our “treats” in moderation. If you feel deprived of a food you love, then that’s what you’ll want lots of. This is why a lot of weight loss diets fail.

Eating delicious fresh foods is more enjoyable and better for your health and wellness. Making just one healthy change to your food intake today is a great way to start living a healthy lifestyle.
Happy eating!