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Ask A Dietitian: Healthy Eating on the Go
by Rachel Blundell MS, RD/LD
Q: The holidays mean traveling for me this year and I know I will be eating out more than usual. I really don’t want to gain weight before the new year and with all the holiday goodies around this time of year, the last thing I need is extra calories when eating out. What are some healthy tips for eating out?
A: Eating out can be tricky. It’s hard to imagine that some restaurants are serving meals that have more calories than we need in a full day, but they do. So here are some survival skills to keep in mind during your travels to cut calories and keep extra pounds at bay.
- Practice eating smaller portions. Place half your meal in a to-go box before you begin eating or share with a friend. Many restaurants are now offering light portions which is a great way to eat less if you don’t have a way to safely store leftovers or have someone to split a meal with.
- Swap your sides for something lighter. Remember to ask to substitute high fat side items like French fries with a baked potato, side salad or steamed veggies.
- Look for key words on the menu such as grilled, broiled, baked or steamed. Try to avoid foods that are fried, breaded or batter-dipped as these foods tend to be higher in fat and calories.
- Ask for sauces, dressings, gravies and butter on the side. This allows you to use less.
- Don’t hesitate to ask your server how meals are prepared. They will often accommodate special requests, but unless you know it’s prepared with butter, for example, you won’t know to ask for it without.
- Check out the nutritional information before ordering. You can access this information at the restaurant, on their website or by visiting other online resources such as www.calorieking.com.
Along with these dining out strategies, add in some daily exercise to help prevent weight gain. Enjoy your travels and have a wonderful holiday season!
For nutritional counseling, Norman Regional Health System offers the guidance of registered dietitians. Those interested can schedule an appointment for an assessment with a referral from their family physician.
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