With today's busy schedules, it is not surprising that eating out is a fairly common occurrence for many of us.
Eating out is a nice treat once in a while or a convenient option when you don't have time to cook a meal. But the fat, calories, sugar and sodium can add up quickly if you eat out regularly.
Here are a few tips to help you make smart, healthy choices the next time you eat out or eat on the run.
Keep it small
Portion sizes at fast food counters and restaurants are usually bigger than what you would normally eat at home. Share a large meal with a friend, or ask to take leftovers home.
Pick nutrition over value
Special super-sized meal combinations might seem like a good deal, but they're often packed with "extras" – extra fat, calories, sugar and/or sodium - that we don't need.
Preparation is key
Order foods that have been steamed, baked, broiled, grilled, stir-fried or roasted. The hidden fat and calories add up quickly when food is fried, deep-fried, breaded or served with rich sauces and gravies.
Watch the amount of sodium that you eat
Choose fewer foods that have been smoked or made with soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. Look for "light" versions of these sauces or ask for them to be served on the side. Ask for your meal to be cooked without salt or monosodium glutamate (MSG), a seasoning that is very high in sodium.
Go full steam ahead with vegetables
You can't go wrong ordering an extra side salad or dish of vegetables. Substitute your fries with vegetables. Hold the mayo and go easy on the amount of salad dressing, oil, butter or margarine that you add.
Look for ways to boost your fibre intake
Many restaurants now offer whole wheat or whole grain buns, tortilla wraps, pasta or pizza crust upon request.
Choose your drink wisely
Drink water, low-fat milk or 100% fruit juice instead of soda pop. If you drink alcohol, limit it to one or two drinks for the day.
Remember that healthy eating is about balance and enjoying your food. If you happened to overindulge at a meal, then plan on choosing some healthier choices over the next few days.
Check out your local food premises’ inspection reports on ChooseWise
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