5 Healthy Ways to Eat Out
We live in a fast paced world.. full of deadlines and expectations that often feel out of our control. In order to get everything done food often gets left as something we grab while in the car or at our desk. As a health crusader, I am determined to finding healthy choices no matter where I am grabbing my food. First, I want to offer you simple guidelines on ways you can cut out some harmful choices while dining out.
- Pay attention to the descriptions on the menu.. look out for deep-fried, pan fried, basted, batter-dipped, creamy, crispy, scalloped, Au gratin or in cream sauce. These preparations usually have added oils, unhealthy fats and sugars. Look for dishes with more vegetables and leaner meats that are baked or grilled without the added sauces.
- Drink plenty if water with your meal. If you are a heavy soda drinker, just cutting that out of your diet for a week will trigger noticeable weightloss. It doesn't matter if it is sugar free or regular, both kinds of sodas contribute to instant weight gain. Water will help flush out fats from your body as well as help you become full on a smaller amount of food. Adding lemon and brining your own natural sweetener, stevia will create instant healthy lemonade!
- Eat "naked" foods.. when choosing your meal, undress the sauces, spreads, cheese, ketchup and sour cream. Mustard rarely has added sugar and plain olive oil and lemon is a much healthier choice than canola oil for your salads.
- Special Order.. because you are worth it! Ask for your veggies to be more of the main dish and to be steamed and then add olive oil and lemon after they bring it to you.. you can never have too much lemon. Most places serve way too much meat, ask for them to serve it more like a side dish. You will be surprised how much weight you can loose just by making those adjustments. Ask for your dressings on the side and order olive oil and vinegar whenever possible. There are a lot of hidden sugars and unhealthy oils in salad dressings.
- Eat mindfully... You are what you eat, so taking the time to really enjoy the food you are nourishing your body with is very important.
Chew your food thoroughly and try to avoid eating on the run. It is helpful to turn off all computers and TV's while eating. Being mindful also means stopping before you are full. It takes time for our bodies to register that we have eaten. It helps to place your fork down between each bite. Mindful eating relaxes you, so you digest better, and makes you feel more satisfied
Let's talk Fast Food Restaurants.
Health Magazine did a study that rated the 10 healthiest fast food restaurants in America.
They scored the chains on such factors as the use of healthy fats and preparations, healthy sodium counts in entrees, availability of nutritional information, and the use of organic produce to arrive at our top 10. Let's see who ranked the highest..
#1 Panera Bread
Over 1,230 locations nationwide (and in Canada)
you can pick from two whole-grain breads for your sandwich and have an apple with it instead of chips (though the chips are fine, too—they can be baked!). Half-size soups, salads, and sandwiches make it a cinch to control portion size. Also, most of the chicken is antibiotic- and hormone-free, a rarity for large chains.
#2 Jason’s Deli
206 locations in the West, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, South
devotion to organic food: About one-fifth of all its ingredients are organic, from blue-corn tortilla chips and whole-wheat wraps to field greens and spinach. Plus, its creative salads—like the Nutty Mixed-Up Salad with organic field greens, grapes, chicken breast, feta cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, pumpkinseeds, raisins, and organic apples
#3 Au Bon Pain
280 locations nationwide
14-item menu of nutritious small plates—from appetizers like apples, blue cheese, and cranberries to salads like chickpea and tomato—all of which are less than 200 calories.
204 locations in West, Midwest, South
Here, you choose from three food types: Asian, Mediterranean, or American, then within each style, pick from four noodle bowl options. Lean proteins—hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken, beef, shrimp, and organic tofu—can be added, too.
111 locations in West, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, South
Corner Bakery also has healthy salads, sandwiches, and soups made with whole grains, fresh, lean meats, and vegetables, as well as great portion-controlled combinations that make limiting calories a no-brainer.
800+ locations nationwide
Chipolte won high marks for its commitment to organics, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, and produce sourced from local suppliers, which is revolutionary in a chain this big. Many of its entrees can be low-sodium, if you choose add-ins such as the fajita veggies and green tomatillo salsa.
106 locations in 24 states (Southeast, West, and North)
This innovative bakery also features whole-grain bread, fresh sandwiches (including paninis), and hearty, healthy soups and salads.
14,000 locations nationwide
McDonald’s is leading the way in overhauling its menu to offer more heart- and waist-friendly fare.
The Grilled Chicken Classic sandwich and wraps are healthy choices, too (just skip the mayo or sauce). So is the salad with Paul Newman low-fat balsamic vinaigrette.
Happy Meals, which you can order with a side of apple dippers (with low-fat caramel) instead of fries and low-fat milk or fruit juice
649 locations nationwide
Einstein Bros. offers healthier alternatives like reduced-fat shmears, hummus, and peanut butter—a great way to add healthy fat to breakfast (or lunch). It also serves a Good Grains bagel that has an impressive 4 grams of fiber.
#10 Taco Del Mar
270 locations in 22 states
Whole grains are easy to get here, with whole-wheat tortillas available as an alternative in burritos. The chain gets high marks for its new 320-calorie chicken burrito
If you follow the guidelines above, you can begin to make healthy choices wherever you go. I would love to hear about your personal experiences with this. Feel free to write me anytime.
From Someone Who Cares, Vita Girl