Welcome to Week 21, Challengers! This week, we take a closer look at eating out and how to navigate a menu properly.
How timely was the news story that ran at 6pm the other day: Single restaurant dishes provide more than the daily recommended amount of sodium.
Ouch. We know this to be very true: meals eaten out can be higher in salt, as well as fat and sugar. A lot of the time, there’s not much we can do about it (read: it’s added in the preparing of the food). But let’s focus on what we can control. Use the following tips to make a healthier choice next time you find yourself with a looming menu in your face:
- Order first. If you’re out with a group of people and are the type to be influenced by those around you (who isn’t when it comes to food), order your the healthy meal you’ve picked out first. Hey, you may even inspire those around you to get something healthier!
- Veggie It Up. When picking an option, focus on the veggies. What in your menu, will help you get the most veggies? This way, you can be sure you’re getting some nutrient dense food (rather than filling up on starches). If you’re thinking of a salad, be sure to get high fat extras on the side (think: cheese, dressings, candied nuts and the like) so you can control the portion. Often soup can be a great way to get in some veggies!
- Don’t Be Shy. When looking over the menu, don’t be bashful when asking the server about details of your potential dishes. If something can be prepared without extra fat, it’s worth asking for the option.
- Portion Portion Portion. At many restaurants, the portion is going to be big, big, BIG. So either share one dish with a friend; order from the appetizer menu; or doggy-bag it home. Seriously though, I don’t know about the doggie bag tip…if it’s in front of me, I’ll eat it! If you’re like me, best to be pro-active and get smaller dish in front of you.
- Banish Liquid Calories. We’re big on being smart about bevvies and that means not spending calories on drinks and saving them for yummy food. Forgo the regular pop, juice, iced tea, etc for bubbly water or tea or coffee with milk. Click here for more about smart beverage choices.
Do It: Try eating out for a main meal this week and test out a tip or two. Bring a friend and try together!
Post It: Did anything help you out when making choices? Do you already do some of these tips or do you have some of your own to share?
-A & M