Here are some tips on how to make healthy choices:
- Avoid buffets. You are more likely to overeat just to get your money’s worth.
- Don’t skip a meal when you know you are going to be eating out later. You will be less likely to make wise decisions when choosing what to order and you will be more likely to overeat. If you find yourself hungry 30 minutes before leaving home, have a light snack.
- Fill up on water while you are waiting for your food.
- Always plan on taking some of your meal home. You can even ask for a to-go box when you order. Try to eat the same portion size as you normally would at home. You do not have to eat everything that is on your plate. Whether you eat your leftovers at home a couple hours later or save it for the next day, you can avoid feeling uncomfortably full.
- Split an entrée. Most dinner entrées are big enough for two to enjoy.
- Choose water instead of soda. Even though soda taste good, it adds calories to your diet but does not help you feel full.
- Use the nutrition information on the menu to help you decide what to order. Some restaurants mark menu items that are healthy choices, low in sodium, or low carb. Other restaurants may even have calories for their items on the menu. Use this information to help you make a wise choice.
- You can plan ahead by picking out some healthy options before stopping in for a bite to eat. Many restaurants have nutrition information on their websites.
- Pay attention to the descriptions on the menus. Steer clear of dishes labeled deep-fried, pan-fried, breaded, batter-dipped, buttered, and in cream sauce. These items are usually high in calories, fat, and sodium. Steamed, baked, roasted, broiled, and grilled items are better options
- Watch out for sauces and dressings. On sandwiches, choose mustard, fat-free, or reduced-fat dressings. You can also ask for these on the side so you are in control of how much you use.
- Make substitutions. For example, get a side salad instead of fries. If substitutions are not listed on the menu, ask the waiter if this is possible.
- Take time to enjoy your food! It can take up to 20 minutes for your stomach to send the signal to your brain telling it that you are full. If you eat too quickly, you are likely to overeat before you feel satisfied.
Emily Nutrition Intern