Friday, April 8, 2011

Tips for Healthy Eating Out

I love to go out to eat.  At least, I used to, before I had toddlers.  Eating out with a toddler is an experience I try to avoid at all costs...And Chuck E Cheese?  Well, I try to go there only when we are invited to birthday parties, and then I usually talk John into taking the invited child.   That place gives me a headache.

But as a reward for an excellent report card, I found myself there last night with my 3 kids, by myself.  I expected the worst, but they were perfectly behaved, very happy, and I had a $19.99 coupon for pizza, drinks, and enough tokens to last an hour.  And I discovered that Chuck's now got himself a decent salad bar!


Now, I'm no nutritional expert.  And I try to do the best I can with what I have as far as eating goes.
But the dietitians and doctors that work for the government are experts. They have finally updated that food pyramid we learned about in elementary school.  It makes sense.  And their website, mypyramid.gov, is great.  They put into print the things that healthy/skinny people seem to know intuitively. 

Here are my favorite of their tips for eating out. 

As a beverage choice, ask for water or other zero calorie beverage.  This is my ALWAYS rule.   Why drink unnecessary calories?

Ask for salad dressing to be served on the side. Dip your fork into the dressing, and then eat the lettuce.

Order an appetizer or side dish instead of an entrée.  This is my FAVORITE.  I almost never order an entree at a table service restaurant.  I would much rather have a salad, an app, and split a dessert.

Share a main dish with a friend.  Nicer restaurants will often plate them separately for you.  Be sure to tip your waiter as if you both ordered an entree, though!

In a restaurant, start your meal with a salad packed with veggies, to help control hunger and feel satisfied sooner.

Order an item from the menu instead heading for the “all-you-can-eat” buffet.  Better yet, don't go to buffets. Period. Nothing good can come from it!  And they are expensive.