Who doesn’t like to dine out? And with so many two working parent families and single working parents, it’s often easier to pile everyone into the car and hit the nearest restaurant for dinner. Not to mention those who live alone find it difficult to cook for only one. Question is — is it really possible to eat well when you eat out?
The answer is yes, if you rule out fast food restaurants — major contributors to weight gain and the growing problem of worldwide obesity, especially among children and teenagers. Eating all the wrong foods can also affect your energy levels, strength and mental and emotional well-being.
One of the biggest offenders? Soda, of course, a sugar-laden beverage that causes weight gain and interferes with the absorption of calcium. The sugar-free stuff is even worse.
So, what can you do to make better choices when you’re eating out?
- Order healthy salads as entrees, with the dressing on the side, so you can dip into instead of pour over.
- Order fish and meats that are baked, grilled or broiled, not fried.
- Pick fruit for dessert instead of a sugar-rich and fat-filled dessert — or order only one and share with the table!
- Avoid selections with mayonnaise, sour cream and butter.
- When you order pizza, ask for vegetable toppings instead of processed meats (pepperoni, sausage).
- Don’t think you have to “clear your plate” just because it’s in front of you — ask to take the leftovers home for another meal. Or two!
- Avoid bread and butter, French fries, onion rings, cream soups, gravies, heavy sauces (Alfredo, hollandaise), bacon and potato chips.
- Steer clear of the all-you-can-eat buffets and specials!
- Make sure you are not starving when you enter the restaurant. Much the same as food shopping on an empty stomach – you are apt to order everything on the menu!
Dining out should be social and enjoyable. Don’t let bad menu choices ruin what should be a time to relax and unwind with friends and family. Remember, no one likes that feeling of fullness that accompanies an evening of overindulgence… or the inevitable results the next day!
Dr. Steven L. Levy is a chiropractor in Woodbury.