by Mitchelle Uzorka
Eating out can be a nice treat once in a while or a convenient option when you don’t have time to cook a meal. But the fat, calories, sugar and sodium can add up quickly if you eat out regularly. Use these tips to make healthy choices the next time you eat out.
• Fish Is Good for Your Heart
Fish is a healthy choice when dining out. Ordering seafood such as salmon and tuna adds omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. They are a type of polyunsaturated fat that helps lower your heart disease risk. You’ll also find a different type of omega-3 in walnuts and edamame (soybeans).
• Avoid Fried Foods
Eating out often means getting too much saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and calories.
How can you spot the dangers? Saturated fats come mostly from meat and whole-fat dairy foods. Tropical oils like palm oil and coconut oil, and butter are also saturated fats. Cholesterol is found in animal fats. Primarily the saturated fat and the cholesterol in the foods you eat increase your cholesterol levels.
• Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
In restaurants where food is cooked to order, you can make special requests for lighter fare.
If you’re counting calories — or keeping an eye on saturated fat, cholesterol, or sodium — tell your server.
Ask what’s in a dish. Find out how it’s cooked. A chef can often prepare food using less oil, no butter, or no added salt. If there is sauce, salad dressing, or gravy, get it on the side. Then you can dip — or skip — and use less.
• Don’t Eat It All
Restaurants serve huge portions. If you’re counting calories — or monitoring blood glucose – don’t eat it all yourself. Try this instead:
Restrain yourself, and take a box home.
Share with others at your table.
Ask your server to box up half before bringing the meal out.
• Drink Water Before and During Your Meal
Water is a fantastic choice for drinking before and with a meal, especially if you drink it instead of sugar-sweetened drinks.
Replacing sugar-sweetened drinks with water can help reduce your intake of calories and added sugar.
Studies have shown that people on a diet who drank 500 ml (17 oz) of water half an hour before a meal ate fewer calories and lost 44% more weight than those who didn’t.
• Go for Tomato-Based Sauces Over Creamy Ones
Choose tomato- or vegetable-based sauces over creamy or cheese-based ones to help cut the calories and fat from your meal.
They’ll also add more healthy vegetables to your diet.
Take control by preparing yourself with the right tactics, and you can eat out while sticking to a healthy nutrition plan.