Dining Out And Eating Right

by October 18, 2013

Dining out and eating right is hard.  With our busy schedules at work and our on the run after-work schedules, it is no wonder that the fast food industry is thriving.  It is estimated that 1 out of 10 meals on average are take-out meals.  What exactly does this mean to those of us who are trying to stick to a balanced diet and weight lose?  It could mean failure if we don’t watch what we are ordering and pay attention to those portion sizes.

Eating the Right Portion Sizes

Portion sizes are excessive!  We would never pile on that much food if we were preparing at home.  And the likelihood is we wouldn’t be drinking that super-sized pop either at home.  So why do we do it to ourselves when we are eating out?

We have been taught since a young age to finish what is on our plates, don’t waste, and are now taking it into our adult lifestyle to finish what is put in front of us.  Instead of ordering that large coffee, ask for a medium, you don’t have to eat all those fries that came with your meal.  And how often do you eat dessert at home?  You don’t have to order that cheesecake after your nice dinner out.

Most fast food franchises now have healthier options on their menus.  When asked what size, ask for a smaller version than what they are promoting.  Nothing wrong even with asking if there is a child’s size.  Ask for milk or water instead of soda.

What you would pay at a fast food restaurant is probably equal to a sit-down restaurant.  Instead of eating on the run, go and sit down and enjoy your meal.  And of course the cost of eating out compared to cooking at home, well there is no real comparison, you will save money cooking and eating at home.  Even a lone diner will save money cooking at home, buy smaller quantities of what you are cooking or freeze for another meal.


Monitoring the Risks

Dining out has health risks.  What we are consuming when dining out is not always good for us.  The MSG additives that are present in most fast foods are not good for our health.

If you are fortunate enough to have restaurants in your office area or close to home, walk.  Take some time and enjoy a nice walk to have your lunch or dinner, get a quick walking workout there and back.  Instead of doing the drive-thru, park and go in to place your order.  Just like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, get out and stretch your muscles and have a bit of a work out.  Could even say you are earning that meal by working your muscles for it.

If dining in, ask first off for a glass of water.  Sip on a nice cool glass of water as you scan the menu for your meal.  The water will help you to already fill-up.  And savor your meal, don’t rush through, if you have time to relax a bit then relax and enjoy.  You don’t have to eat everything on your plate either, ask for a take-out container and have for another meal.

Don’t Settle for the Fries

Most fast foods include fries, but there is options.  Ask for those choices, whether it is apple slices or maybe a small salad.  You will thank yourself later when you aren’t having a sugar crash from those fries.  Or maybe you can take those apple slices and have for an afternoon snack at your desk.

Do you eat bread at home with supper?  If the restaurant is serving bread, just take a slice and then ask it to be removed.  Maybe have a nice olive oil or vinegar instead of butter.  Never ask for the bread basket to be re-filled.

When it comes to portion sizes, look on the menu to see if they offer as a starter.  Will be a smaller portion and probably less expensive.

Some restaurants offer various side options, whether it is the choice of two, three or even four.  Ask yourself if you would have that many options if cooking at home.  Sure it is nice to have, but do we really need two kinds of potatoes, ask for vegetables other than potatoes.  But be sure to ask how they are prepared, you aren’t going to want four servings of vegetables smothered in a cream or cheese sauce.

In our fast-paced lives we do have eating out choices if we take a moment to think about what we are doing to our bodies.  Educate yourself of what is being placed in front of yourself and your family.  If you are fortunate enough to be able to have the time to prepare meals at home, doing so is always a better option.  Take eating out back to a once in awhile event again.

Pack lunches for yourself and your family at home, don’t take the easy way out and run to that fast food place by your work.  Pack snacks!  We like to snack so why not pack snacks for yourself to have when those afternoon cravings start.

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