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photo from carpedurham.com

As most people are aware, America’s obesity rate is on the rise.  Each year we become increasingly more fat and sick.  One of the main contributors to this statistic is all the processed, packaged and high calorie restaurant foods available to our population.  If you are trying to lose weight or just eat healthy, it can be challenging to go out to eat and maintain your health goals.  Once you realize how much fat and calories are in that platter of chicken strips and French fries, you might think twice about inhaling the whole plate.

I’m all about enjoying a meal out now and then with my husband or family and friends.  So here are a few tips for those seeking to be a more health conscious diner:

1)  Look it up – Most restaurants have their nutrition info online or apps these
days.  Before entering the doors look up a few healthy options on the menu or preselect what you will be ordering.  Then you are aware of how many calories you will be ingesting and are less likely to be tempted by the cheeseburger and fries in a moment of indecision.

2)  Box it up (or share) – It is a known fact that most restaurant portions are larger than our stomachs (and calorie allotments) can handle. Most dinners have 2-3 portion sizes in one entrée.  Ask for a box when your food is served and divvy up what you will eat and take home.  Mindful eating practice.

3)  Drink it up – Drinks can be an empty calorie pit. Alcoholic or not.  Lemonade and soda can be just as calorie and sugar laden as that mixed drink.  We tend to drink even more at a restaurant due to the waiting and conversation time before and after our meal.  So, think twice about what you order or pace yourself sipping on that lemonade.  Water (with a lemon if you want) of course, is always the best option.

4)  Pass it up – Skip the desert.  Try not to give in to the beautiful, delicious tray of deserts that comes roaming around the tables after dinner (that is my weakness!) Don’t think about what you can’t have but how much better you’ll feel if you opt out. Go home or out for some low fat frozen yogurt.  The great wall of chocolate at PF Chang’s has a whopping 1,440 calories (if you didn’t already discretely unbutton your pants after dinner you will after that dessert).  And, if you really desire a restaurant dessert many places have mini sized options these days that are a much better calorie choice.

The Some of Fattiest Restaurant Foods in America article (crazy info – some restaurant entrees have more than a day’s worth of calories and up to 3 days fat content!):