Eating out healthy…What are the best choices?
This is a perfect topic as I just returned from being away at a conference for about a week. Although I had a refrigerator and ate breakfast in the room with my usual foods, dinner and lunches with the group were a challenge. What follows are some thoughts and suggestions for eating out healthy whether you’re at a conference or just having a meal out with friends and family.
First of all, you need to be aware you really surrender control over your food whenever you eat out. If that’s not an issue for you, so be it. For me, I like to know if what I’m eating is organic, is the fish wild caught or farmed, is anything GMO? If you’re eating meat or poultry, is it pasture raised or loaded with antibiotics and fed gmo feed. Remember, you are you eat and you are what they eat!
Do I have control issues? When it comes to my food supply…yes, I definitely do!!
Second, portion control is a challenge. The “all you can eat” mentality is a real problem for us here in this country. Even if it’s a regular serving and not an all you can eat event, the portions are usually much larger than necessary. It’s in your best interest to eat only until you’re approaching the feeling of full and certainly not until you feel stuffed. One of my friends has a great practice she uses whenever she eats out. As soon as her food arrives, she asks for a “to-go” box and puts half her food in that box to take home with her. That way she’s not tempted to eat the whole thing. I think that is so smart.
Another concern with eating out healthy is what oil the restaurant uses when preparing food. Not long ago, I was feeling like having some fries; I’m not perfect you know…I readily admit that. I asked what kind of oil they used to fry the potatoes. The person very proudly told me they used canola oil. Canola oil is a very, very bad choice as it is largely GMO and has a low smoke point, causes inflammation…I can go on and on. The buzz about canola oil is that it is a healthy choice. It is not! That perception is courtesy of marketing, and it is not true. I bought into that a while back and used to use it myself. If you are using canola oil, please switch to olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil; they are much healthier choices! I did not order the fries…
So, what do you order when you’re out for a meal? It’s a hard question to answer, but for the most part your path needs to be to order what will do you the least damage. Most of the time, there is no perfect choice. Salad and sometimes a small amount of some kind of protein is usually the choice I make. Still, you can’t be sure the salad doesn’t contain GMO ingredients, and you have no idea what pesticides have been used on the greens and the vegetables in that salad. Another good choice is to ask them to substitute another vegetable in place of potato or rice. A great option is broccoli which is actually high in both protein and phytonutrients which are essential for continued good health!
When you eat out, you surrender control, so just be aware there are no perfect choices. Learn to enjoy cooking at home…you’ll also save money if you’re not eating out so often! When you eat out, to have it be eating out healthy, make the best choices you can and manage your portions. Sometimes having a couple of appetizers may be the smartest way to go.
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
Certified Nutrition & Wellness Consultant