Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How to eat Healthfully at Restaurants Without Being Miserable

I cannot stress the importance of good nutrition. It doesn't matter how good your metabolism is or how hard you train-- if you don't eat clean, you're only getting about 30% of the equation. What you put in your body helps prevent disease, helps maintain energy levels, keeps your body fat in check, and much more. This is Part One of what will likely be several discussions about food.

The average American eats out several meals a week, which can add up to lots of excess calories if you're not careful.
 

Here are some easy tricks to remember:

1) Keep portion sizes in check. This is huge (no pun intended... ok, maybe it was intended a little bit), especially if you tend to eat out. Most restaurants dole out several portion sizes per plate, and if you're like me, you'll keep munching off your plate even if you're full until the waiter takes it away. Ask your waiter to pack up half your food before they even bring it to the table. Now you won't munch past fullness, and you'll save money because you'll have leftovers for lunch or dinner! Hooray! Alternatively, order appetizer-sized portions instead of full sized portions, or share your meals with your meal companion. Same trick, sans leftovers.

2) If your meal comes with anything (fries, mashed potatoes, whatever), ask for vegetables instead. You can have vegetables till carrots sprout out your ears, and you'll be fine (provided they're not deep fried or similar, of course). If they put bread/Chinese noodles/anything similar on the table, ask them to take it away (or pass it to your less food-savvy meal companions).

3) Stay away from crispy. Stay away from creamy. Stay away from Krispy Kremes.

4) Sauces are often where the bulk of the fat and calories are in a meal. Wherever you can, ask for sauces on the side. If you can't do that, ask them to go easy on the sauce, and don't use anything to sop the sauce up.

5) Drink water. Lots of it. It will fill you up and keep you from eating quite as much. Plus, hydration is never a bad idea. 'Specially if you train with me. :)

6) Just because it's a salad doesn't mean it's good for you. Here is a list of some of the unhealthiest restaurant salads out there: http://www.thatsfit.com/2009/12/03/unhealthy-salad/ Keep cheese, croutons, processed salad dressings (which include sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils-- this doesn't mean all salad dressings; check the ingredients), bacon bits, processed meats (salami, pepperoni, etc), mayonnaise, iceberg lettuce, and candied nuts out of your salad, too.

Anyone else have some good tips to share? Feel free!

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