Dining Out Healthfully When You Travel
Travel means dining out and dining out comes with a host of forces that can work against you on the wellness front. Take advantage of the following guiding principles to transform this high risk eating endeavor into one that provides sensory pleasure without sacrificing your health or sabotaging your waistline.
Eat out, but eat smart during your wellness travel by adhering to the following strategies:
Avoid the “Great White Hazards” (white flour products, white potatoes, white rice)
- Request that bread not be brought to your table, or have it removed as you sit down.
- Ask for vegetables, beans or salads to replace white rice, potatoes and pasta sides.
- Avoid pasta entrees.
- Always substitute whole grain bread for white bread when available.
Control Your Portions (your biggest challenge)
- Request that your server package half of your meal in a take-home box before you are served.
- Have an appetizer as your main dish.
- Split an entrée with your dining partner.
- Request a smaller portion.
- Avoid large buffet lines and all-you-can-eat restaurants. Studies show the more quantity and variety available to us, the more we eat.
Rein in Your Appetite – the hungrier you are, the more you eat.
- Eat a light and healthy snack an hour before you are to dine. An apple or a small handful of nuts are an excellent choice.
- Have a side salad or a broth/tomato based soup as a starter. Studies confirm that you will eat less of the entrée meal if you do this.
- For more on this topic, check out my free, video tip “Reining in Your Appetite.”
Eat as Many Fruits and Non-Starchy Veggies as Possible
- Studies confirm that these foods, because they are “big” in volume from fiber and water, quite literally “fill your tummy up” while providing a relatively low number of calories. The name of the game is “bulking up” meals with as many healthy, yet low calorie fruits and veggies as possible.
- Consider entrée salads.
- Choose appetizers that provides fruits and/or veggies.
- Ask for extra vegetable sides or a double order of a veggie side.
Do Your Fats Right!
- Request that your foods be prepared in canola or olive oil
- If not available, request that all butter, sauces, dressings and gravy be put on the side so you can control the portions.
- Avoid “hearty sauces, deep-fried, creamed or crispy” appetizers or entrees. This wording almost always means big doses of unhealthy fats.
- Avoid fatty cuts of red meat – burgers, meat loaf, bacon, ribs, sausage etc.
Beware of Liquid Calories
- Excess calories from beverages, especially sweetened beverages like tea, sodas and fruit drinks mount very quickly. Unfortunately, studies show that liquid calories do not have the appetite suppressive effects provided by the equivalent amount of solid food calories and are particularly fattening.
- Limit alcohol to 1 drink. A glass of red wine is the healthiest choice. Alcohol has a disinhibiting effect and increases the likelihood of dietary indiscretions.
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