Eating well is tough. Eating well while eating out is super tough. Despite your best-laid plans, some restaurant meals can contain over half your days worth of calories and well over the recommended guidelines for fat, sodium and sugar! A salad is always a healthy option, right? Even when it comes laden with croutons, bacon bits, candied nuts, blue cheese crumbles and those little crunchies on top? You get the picture. When it comes to meals made outside of your own kitchen, being an informed and educated consumer is your best bet.
So, when you’re on the road – out and about – how can you keep your waistline in mind?
- Stick to calorie-free beverages. Did you know that a grande caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks contains 410 calories and 64g of sugar? That’s over 12 teaspoons of sugar. And a typical 12oz can of soda has, on average, 10 teaspoons of sugar. So, you’re better off sticking with water, unsweetened tea or coffee (stop with a spoonful of sugar).
- Start your meals with a soup or salad. If you load up on the good-for-you greens and broth-based soups, you’ll help to control your hunger and will be less likely to dive into the vat of pasta or basket of fries when they arrive.
- Ask for your dressings and sauces on the side. Two tablespoons of Ranch dressing contains 145 calories and 15g of fat. And let’s face it…who stops at two tablespoons? Ask for your condiments on the side so you can self-serve and use only as necessary.
- Order dishes that are steamed, grilled or broiled. Steer clear of calorie-laden dishes that are friend, battered or sautéed.
- When portions are larger than your nutrition plan calls for (and bigger than your belly needs), choose to:
- share a main dish with a friend/family member
- order an appetizer- or lunch-sized portion instead of an entrée
- take leftovers home in a “doggy bag”
- set half of the meal aside as soon as it arrives to take with you
- On long drives, trips or commutes, make sure you’re stocked with on-the-go snacks like fresh fruit, cut-up veggies with dip, cheese sticks, low-sodium beef/turkey jerky, mixed nuts and lots of water to help you avoid stopping at the drive through and/or convenience stores.
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Nicole M Cascio. MSc. Certified Personal Trainer. Pn1 Certified. is a guest writer for Personal HealthConnect. She has her Masters of Science in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health from the University of Bristol, England. She is certified through AFAA as a Personal Trainer. She is also certified in SPINNING and BODYPUMP. Nicole is hugely passionate about all things health and wellness, with a special interest in nutrition. She currently serves as emPower Training System’s Nutritionist, providing nutrition counseling and leading nutrition support groups.