June 19, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter
Adopting a healthy lifestyle can be a difficult task especially when you have to change your habits. You don’t always have to go to the kitchen and create your own meal to start eating better. Restaurants are increasing their menu options for the health-conscious including nutrition facts and portion sizes. Now it is easy to substitute a small salad for fries. The following are a few strategies you can use when you choose to eat out:
Prepare before you go:
- Look up to see if you can find the nutrition facts online with a menu. If you choose ahead of time you may not be as tempted by other options on the menu and many sites allow you to create your meal and get personalized nutrition facts. This way you can compare options to create easier and more knowledgeable decisions when dinnertime comes.
- Walk to the restaurant with your family or friends if it isn’t too far away. This can help burn some calories and increase your physical activity before you eat. Additionally, walking afterwards helps with digestion.
- Walk to order inside the restaurant instead of driving thru and park farther from the restaurant because every small amount of exercise adds up.
When you’re inside the restaurant:
- To help with portion size control, try ordering an appetizer instead of an entrée.
- Sharing appetizers and meals with everyone at the table keeps you from eating it all yourself.
- One of the easiest ways to portion control is to receive a to-go box when you receive your meal and immediately pack half of your entrée. Then you won’t have it all tempting you on your plate.
- When you save your meal to-go you are changing one meal into two. Have it for lunch the next day, this not only saves your gut but your wallet as well. Or when you’re done and don’t want to eat anymore try showering your food with salt and/or pepper and putting your napkin on your plate to deter you from eating more.
- Start small. If you are contemplating whether to order more of something or an additional side. You can always order it after you’ve started eating your meal. You may come to find your eyes may be bigger than your stomach at times.
- Try to choose more fruits and vegetables as your side instead of fried options
- Choose leaner meats and fish such as salmon while staying away from red meats
- If nutrition facts are provided, use them! If you’re picking between two meals quickly look at the calorie count, grams of fat and saturated fat and sodium to make your selection.
- Even though it’s free try not to ask for more of the bread they give you. Bread, chips and salsa and other starters that you are given you normally forget to count in but actually are a lot of added fat, sodium and calories.