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how to eat healthy at restaurants

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How to eat take out and stay healthy? That is the million-dollar question. We all know that fast food is cheap, convenient and if you’re hungry enough, almost anything tastes good. Unfortunately, eating take out fast food can pack enough calories, sodium, and fat for an entire day or more in one meal. Eating fast food on a regular basis can cause all kinds of health problems but the price and turn around time make it hard to resist. So why not make better choices?

I’m a busy mom and I love to eat fresh fruits and veggies and home cooked meals as often as possible but on those days when I have lots of work deadlines and the girls have school and dance and whatever else happens to pop up on any given day, on those days, I need help. I need take out, preferably delivered to my door and not loaded with enough calories to feed a baby elephant.

Moderation is the key. Finding a healthy, well-balanced meal in most restaurants can be a challenge, but there are always choices you can make that are healthier than others. Learn to make healthier choices when ordering

Prepare ahead by checking guides that show you the nutritional content of meal choices at your favorite restaurants. I love Fitness pal and Dotti’s food score because then I can plan my meal before ordering. If I plan early enough, I can make sure that my entire day stays on track.

Tips for making healthy choices when ordering take out.

  • Make careful menu selections – pay attention to the descriptions on the menu. Dishes labeled deep-fried, pan-fried, basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, Alfredo, au gratin, or in cream sauce are usually high in calories, unhealthy fats, or sodium. Skip the fat by asking for your food to be grilled, steamed or broiled instead of sautéed or fried and request that your food be cooked “dry” which means no oil or butter.
  • Order items with more vegetables and choose leaner meats.
  • Drink water with your meal. Skip the pop. It’s just a bunch of empty calories. Instead order water with lemon or unsweetened iced tea.
  • “Undress” your food. When choosing items, be aware of calories and fat-packed salad dressings, spreads, cheese, sour cream, etc. Ask for all condiments, special sauces and dressings on the side.
  • Special order. Many menu items would be healthy if it weren’t for the way they were prepared. Ask for your vegetables and main dishes to be served without the sauces. Ask for olive oil and vinegar for your salads or order the dressing “on the side” and spoon only a small amount on at a time. Ask that they be cooked in the healthier option.
  • Eat mind fully. Pay attention to what you eat and slow down. Have a side salad before you eat your main course. Chew your food. I’ve always had a bad habit of eating on the run or waiting until I am starving and then overeating. It takes time for your body to register that you have eaten. Stop eating before you feel like you are going to explode from all of that lasagna.
  • Always order food your way. Order smaller lunch sized portions, avoid salt and don’t add bacon to your order. Order food with no salt and no sauce. Get it on the side and then ration as needed.

What are your best tips for eating take out and staying healthy?


Photo Josh Mazgelis

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by EatNow but all opinions are my own.

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