With the fast-paced lives that so many of us lead, it’s not really surprising that we need to rely on fast food or take-out for some days of the week. In fact, half of Americans report that they consume more than one meal away from home a day! That’s scary, considering fast food and restaurant food both are served in excessively large portion sizes and contain more fat, sodium and calories than is recommended. In a recent study that was conducted on fast food, those who ate take-out foods more than twice a week were more likely to be overweight and had increased risk for several health conditions.
The following tips can help you make the right diet choices for your waistline and your health when you’re eating out:
Get saucy - when ordering pastas or meats, avoid creamy, fat-laden sauces. Choose tomato-based or broth-based sauces instead, as they’re lower in calories and in fat.
Share - if you really feel that you deserve dessert, choose a low-fat option such as fresh fruit salad or a fruit sorbet. If that brownie is calling your name, split it with a friend or your spouse and cut the calories in half.
Avoid buffets at all costs - it’s too easy to overindulge and mess up your diet at a buffet. They offer way too many choices, making them diet disasters waiting to happen. You never need to consume in one sitting, as much food as you would at a buffet.
Have it your way - you’re paying for the food, so don’t be shy about adapting the meal to your eating habits. Ask to skip the butter on your toast, that your food isn’t cooked in too much oil or to have your salad dressing served on the side. Don’t feel bad about it - it’s your dollar and it’s your health.
Order an appetizer as a meal - one way to save on calories (and money too!) is to order an appetizer as a meal. Many appetizers are large enough to serve as a meal, and will leave you feeling satisfied without busting your gut.
Doggy bag it - ask your waiter to wrap up half your meal in a doggy bag before you even start to eat. That way you’ll be less tempted to polish off your plate, and you’ll have a delicious meal for the next day.