Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Eating healthy when you are eating out

Eating out does not mean that you have to stray from your healthy eating goals.
Here are some tips & ideas which have worked well for us when eating at fast food chains:
  • If you are eating at McDonald's then hamburger is a good choice,if you eat beef.It has no mayo and is a good bargain at 270 calories and 19 g of fat compared to the other alternatives. If you do not eat beef then another relatively healthy option at McDonald's is the grilled chicken foldover at 392 calories and 19 g of fat.
  • Avoid eating at Burger King where the burgers are too high in calories.
  • Subway is a godsend for people who want to eat healthy and/or control their weight. However, do order the six inch sandwitch instead of the footlong one and avoid mayo and cheese. Don't be tempted too much by their cookies (yes, and I know that they are delicious!).
  • In KFC the problem is that diet drinks are not available. So a soft drink is what you have to order and they are high in sugar. What I do about this is I order coffee and I carry my own low calorie sweeteners.KFC does not make the nutritional information public, but I think that the healthiest options in the menu, apart from the salads, is the "Shrooms Burger" which has no mayo or fried items.

And here are some general tips on eating wisely when eating out:

  • Choose baked or grilled items over fried ones. When ordering salads, request for the dressing to be served on the side so that you can control the amount that you can put on the salads.

  • Always order chicken without skin as the skin has the majority of the fat.

  • In the foodcourts young tau foo, sliced fish soup, fishball soup and other soup based items are easier on your waistline than "Fried Kway Tiao ","chicken birayani" or "laksa"(which is full of coconut gravy). If you are ordering "prata" then order one without any filling (such as cheese.)

  • Pizza is notoriously high in saturated fat and so steer clear of them, whenever possible. If you cannot resist then eat only a slice or two. While ordering pizza, order only half the cheese and double the vegetables to make it more nutritious.

  • Choose clear soups over creamy ones.

  • If you are having grilled fish, be aware of the fact that many restaurants add melted butter to flavor the fish. Ask for your fish to be grilled plain.

  • Order fruit for dessert and have diet drinks or plain water. Freshly squeezed juices without sugar is also a good option.

  • A baked potato with a little bit of sour cream is a smarter choice than french fries or mashed potatoes.

  • When having cold coffee drinks, ask for it to be made with skimmed milk, low calorie sweeteners and to be served without cream.

  • If you really really cannot resist the desserts in a buffet, then split it with your friend or spouse.

Yes, I do follow the above guidelines when I eat out. However, I do give in to occasional indulgences and so should you....it is perfectly normal.

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