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Don’t Skewer Your Diet

By Lara Hamilton RDN, CDE

Eating out at a restaurant with family or friends is a fun experience. Not only do you avoid washing dishes, but you are able to relax and socialize with those closest to you. But enjoying a meal out doesn’t mean you have to ditch your healthy eating habits. Here are a few ways to cut out the bad and still enjoy a tasty meal prepared by someone else.

Know the Restaurant Vocabulary

Meals prepared fried or pan-fried, crispy, au gratin, scalloped, sautéed, buttered, creamed, or stuffed may sound delicious (and they probably are), but they are generally higher in fat and calories. Instead, choose yummy meals that are prepared steamed, baked, poached, broiled, grilled, or roasted to help you stay on track.

Understand Your Greens

The word ‘salad’ is associated with healthy eating; however, a salad can be just as dangerous as a cheeseburger. Skip creamy, high-sodium and high-fat dressings. Adding bacon, croutons and loads of cheese can be just as bad for you. Instead, opt for plates with colorful vegetables, lean protein such as chicken, egg, or beans. To make your salad even better, avoid salad dressing altogether and use balsamic vinegar and lemon to add flavor.

Set Your Rules

Before hitting the restaurant, set a list of rules for yourself and stick to them.

  1. Plan to save half of a large meal for lunch next day.
  2. Share with a companion or get a smaller portion.
  3. Request healthy substitutions.
  4. Avoid before meal extras such as bread, appetizers, and cocktails.
  5. Order it ‘dry.’ Ask your waiter for your meal to be cooked without oil or butter.
  6. Avoid soda. Ask for water with lemon or a cup of coffee instead.

Utilize the Grocer

Your grocery store may have pre-packaged sandwiches, salads, soups, and fruit instead of a typical fast food restaurant. Going to the grocery store also allows you to read the labels and compare healthier options.

Indulging on a dish here or there is fine, try to stick to a healthier regimen to stay on track.    

Topics and Subtopics: Diabetes Care & Diet & Nutrition

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