Eating Healthy While Eating Out, Part 1

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Eating healthy while eating out is not easy.

Fast Food Restaurant
Fast Food Restaurant

I personally would prefer to not eat healthy when I eat out.  I would prefer to just eat what I want, but recently, I visited a restaurant that is a less common chain restaurant near Jacksonville, FL.  I reviewed the calorie content online as I chose my dish.  I was amazed that some of the dishes have a huge amount of calories.  One dish was a spicy chicken alfredo and I had no idea that it had over 2,000 calories.  That is an entire day’s calories if you are trying to control your weight.  You have had the New York-style cheesecake with sauce and the apple crisp for nearly the same amount of calories.  I am not recommending this course of action, but it illustrates a point.  Choose wisely.  I decide to have cheese pizza with banana peppers which had much fewer calories.  I ended up eating a little over 800 calories which were a huge saving in both money and calories.  

There are lots of choices when you go out for dinner.  You can chose a chain restaurant and still have a respectable calorie intake and leave satisfied with your choices.

Recommendations: 

  1. Plan before you go out:  You should have an idea of what you are going to order before you become hungry and order at the table.  If you wait until you arrive, hunger and temptation may override good choices.  I recommend the same with grocery shopping.  
  2. Ask for extra vegetables:  Substitute vegetables for potatoes.  Remember that spuds are not a vegetable.  They are a starchy food and a dense source of calories.  If the potatoes are mashed, they are especially dangerous with the added butter, sour cream, and/0r cheese.  The same can be true with a baked potato if it has sour cream and butter.  You can eat your weight in broccoli and likely not gain weight, but you might chase people away with gas.  Moderation is the key.  
  3. Just say no to bread: Often they offer you bread at the table.  This is likely a low-fiber bread and not worth the calories.  Since it is low fiber, the calories are easily digested and absorbed and will lead to hunger caused by the insulin surge.  
  4. Water please: Water 30 minutes before eating will reduce food and calorie intake for most dieters.  I recommend 1-2 glasses of water before each meal.  
  5. Take your time and taste your food:  The more chewing and slower you eat, the fewer calories you will eat.  

I will do another article on eating out later.  I hope you have found this one helpful.  

The bottom line: Eating out does not have to derail weight loss. It is as simple as making a smart choice and keep them coming. If you make a poor choice, make it end there.

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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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