Avoid The Dining-Out Landmines: 11 Tips!
by Tracey Mallett
If you're like me, your busy life forces you to eat out... a lot. Lucky for you, I've done the research -- and have even jumped on a few food grenades for you -- and am here with my advice for avoiding the landmines at your favorite restaurants.
Chew on this... my top 11 rules to live and diet by:
1. Do not go to dinner starving! Temptation will probably get the better of you. Instead, eat a piece of fruit or some veggies about an hour before you go out. The fiber will keep you feeling fuller over a longer period of time without the extra calories.
2. Go easy on the alcohol! Not only does booze contain a lot of empty calories but will often take away your willpower with food which often leads to overeating.
3. Push the bread basket or the bowl of chips away! The temptation is far too strong. If you're with friends, then just move it to the other side of the table out of your reach. A few warm rolls with butter or chips with guacamole will blow your healthy eating plan for the week in just one sitting.
4. Half the portions! Considering most restaurant portions are often double -- if not triple -- the correct portions your body actually needs, it’s not surprising that often we roll out of the restaurant instead of walking. Leave some food on your plate and ask for a doggy bag. This could be tomorrow's dinner.
5. Look for cooking methods such as broiled, baked or steamed on the menu! Stay away from any fried food such a tempura, which is a popular choice in a sushi restaurant.
6. No white sauces! Most white sauces are usually made from cream and butter. This will definitely add inches on your figure. Choose a tomato-based sauce. It is lighter on the calories and the tummy!
7. Chicken, fish and turkey! They are better entree choices as they're lower in fat content and are digested faster than red meat.
8. Order an appetizer as your entree! This is a great alternative if you're not feeling too hungry and want a light meal.
9. Ask for fruit as your side order! Often foods are served with French fries, which are deadly and they’re gone before you know it! Fruit or green side salads are better choices. Ask for dressing on the side.
10. Eat slowly! Enjoy your food, but give it time to go down with some nice, cold water. The slower you eat, the less likely you will overeat. Listen to your body. If your pants are starting to feel tight, STOP eating.
11. Avoid all-you-can eat buffets! Stay away! This is a disaster waiting to happen.
Tracey Mallett (www.traceymallett.com) is an internationally-recognized certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist. She is the author of “Sexy in 6: Sculpt Your Body with the 6 Minute Quick Blast Workout.” Tracey is the creator and star of the "3-In-1 Pregnancy System," for pre- and post-natal mothers. Her newest videos are "Renew You” and "Super Body BootCamp.” The proud mother of two now lives in Los Angeles.
May 10, 2010
5 Big Dining-Out Blunders: Are You Guilty?
Dining out can be tricky business – you’ve read up on dining out DOs and DON'Ts, asked for substitutions and scoured through nutrition data and just when you think you’re on top of things, there’s even more diet disasters awaiting you!
Well, be fooled no more – I’ve put together some common diet mistakes with tips on how to avoid them.
1. Sneaky Sauces
Sure you know that alfredo sauce = fat trap, but did you know that butter is often added to sauces that are on the “healthy” list. This includes marinara sauce – yikes! And, low-fat or fat-free sauces are often loaded with sugar making them high calorie. Ask the waitperson how the sauce is made and take it from there.
2. Bad Buns
Chances are if it’s on the grill, it’s been slathered with grease. That once poor innocent hamburger bun has a good coat of butter or oil on it now. Ask for your buns “dry” or sans butter or oil. Most anything on the grill comes with oil or butter.
3. Vindictive Veggies
Steamed veggies by nature are low-cal, but most restaurants still douse them in butter. Be sure to ask how they’re dressed after being steamed and stick with the true definition of steamed. And, same goes with grilled. They’re probably marinated in an oil-based marinade.
4. Lean Meat
Feeling good about choosing filet mignon over prime rib? While it’s certainly a healthier choice, it could still come with hundreds of extra calories. Watch a cooking show or two and you’ll learn that meat is usually tossed in melted butter or oil first. Yikes... as if the meat didn’t have enough fat to begin with! Even veggie burgers share the same grill with hamburgers, meaning burger grease has attacked your veggie burger.
5. Tipping Back Cocktails
Besides adding extra calories, alcohol also clouds your judgment and may ruin your best intentions of eating healthy. Hit up any happy hour and you’ll see – suddenly those buffalo wings don’t look so unhealthy! Stick with one lower calorie drink such as a nice glass of wine or light beer and stay on track. Your wallet and diet will thank you!
Click here for more great Diet.com dining-out options and solutions!
Shauna Schultz, RD, has the nutrition solutions for all your weight loss questions.
October 2, 2008
Eating Healthy On The Go: Top 10 Tactics
You’re a busy, active person on the go and that probably means a packed schedule, rushing around and juggling your many responsibilities. Often this results in skipping meals or grabbing whatever is convenient.
While reality is that we may need to eat on the go, it is possible to keep it healthy.
The following tips will help keep you energized and fueled when life gets busy.
1. Don’t skip meals.
Skipping meals only leads to increased hunger and possibly poor food choices later on. Try to eat at least every 4 hours to keep hunger in check and blood sugar stable.
2. Stash healthy snacks.
Stash healthy snacks in your purse, backpack or car for when hunger strikes. Planning snacks into your day can help you keep energy levels up and stay satisfied in between meals. Try keeping low-fat granola bars, small baggies of trail mix and fruit handy.
3. Carry a water bottle.
Thirst is often mistaken for hunger and being dehydrated can lead to fatigue resulting in a high sugar pick-me-up. Stay hydrated by carrying a water bottle with you during the day.
4. Plan, plan, plan!
Is skipping meals part of your daily routine? Plan it out ahead of time, even it that means writing in your planner. Start by planning a little extra time in the morning so you can eat before you leave the house.
5. Choose healthy fast foods.
Believe it or not, there are healthy items to choose on-the-go, even fast food! Try a grilled chicken sandwich, veggie burger, yogurt and fruit, a small turkey sandwich on whole wheat or a bean burrito.
6. Balance your meals and snacks.
Carb heavy foods are easy to grab, but they can leave you hungry in an hour. Try adding a dose of protein to help keep you satisfied for longer. Try cottage cheese with a granola bar, string cheese with fruit, peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat or turkey slices with crackers and carrots.
7. Convenience can be great!
If pre-portioned foods keep you eating healthy, go for it! Single packaged foods such as whole grain cereal or oatmeal, string cheese or low-fat cheddar sticks (Trader Joe’s), veggie burgers, baby carrots, Kashi granola bars and 100 calorie packs are great on-the-go choices that keep portions in check. And, don’t forget about fruit – it is naturally convenient!
8. Utilize leftovers.
When you do cook, make extra and freeze them in individual containers. Now, you have your own convenience food that can be packed in an insulated lunch box or pulled out when you come home from a long day.
Being busy can build stress and stress can lead to anxious eating. Ask yourself if you are really hungry. If you are reaching for food because you’re stressed, try deep breathing or a brisk walk.
10. Enjoy the eating experience.
Take a moment to sit down and eat, even if that means pulling over in the car. Multi-tasking while eating turns off your intuitive eating, meaning you may eat too quickly and overeat or feel unsatisfied.
5 Healthy Fast Food Choices
1. Subway sandwich from the Fresh Fit Menu. Add a side of apple slices or baked chips and call it a meal!
2. Keep smoothies healthy and try a Jamba Juice Jamba Light or Yogurt and Fruit Blend.
3. Burger King BK Veggie, minus the mayo and a side salad with low-fat dressing.
4. Any item from the Taco Bell Fresco menu. Pack fresh cut-up veggies to enjoy with your meal and add filling fiber.
5. Tender Grill Chicken Sandwich or Salad (ask for low-fat dressing) from Burger King.
Shauna Schultz, RD, has the nutrition solutions for all your weight loss questions.
September 25, 2008