Times past, eating out was a rare treat usually saved for special occasions or a weekend. Today, most people eat out several times a week. Many eat more than one meal every day at a restaurant. While other factors also contribute to the current epidemics of obesity and diabetes, eating a diet based on restaurant and fast foods is certainly one of them.

If your lifestyle demands that you eat out often, you can take steps to make it a healthier experience. Dr. Luise Light, author of What to Eat: The Ten Things You Really Need to Know to Eat Well and Be Healthy makes these recommendations:

  • Try to find a restaurant that serves local food, preferably organic, that’s freshly prepared
  • Restaurants with salad bars are good choices. Choose vinegar and olive oil or blue cheese rather than bottled, creamy French or low fat
  • Order broiled, baked or sautéed meat, even if that means ordering a sandwich without the bread or bun—or a stir fry without the rice
  • Instead of potatoes or white rice, order cooked vegetable sides
  • Fish is a good catch if it is fresh, un-breaded, un-fried and on the official list of safe seafood at www.mbayaq.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/sfw_factsheet.aspx?gid=31
  • If available, order organic or free-range chicken, grass-fed beef or bison burgers
  • Vegetarian dishes such as stir-fried vegetables with tofu are a healthy change of pace if you don’t overdue the soy sauce
  • Don’t neglect healthy fats. Don’t turn down butter, sour cream and healthy salad dressings—indulge! Every cell in you body, particularly the cells of your nervous system, will thank you
  • Go for the 100% whole grain breads and crackers, brown rice and colorful vegetables that contain lots of fiber

Dr. Light also offers this advice, “Focus on the food at mealtime, not your next appointment or the day’s office crisis. Eat slowly and savor what you put in your mouth. Don’t eat out with people who influence you to eat too quickly and mindlessly—save them for dessert or ask them to slow down and enjoy the food with you.”

“Don’t avoid food all day so you can binge dining out. This type of starving-feasting pattern is hard on your body and your emotions, and isn’t a good strategy for weight control as it depresses your metabolic rate.”

Source: www.luiselight.com

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