Most of us want to be health conscious but, let’s face it, preparing healthy, fresh meals three times a day takes immense amounts of time.
It is not often realistic to spend that much time fixing meals after spending a full day at work or taking care of children. Today more and more people are instead eating out for sake of convenience and time. But how do we still maintain a healthy balance when eating out? There are a few simple things we can do to improve our overall health when eating out, whether we eat out once a month or twice a day.
The first thing to take into consideration is portion size. This is a huge problem in eating out that can often lead to weight gain. Most restaurants provide larger meals than you should be eating in one sitting. These meals are also different than the ones you would prepare for yourself in a healthy way. They are often loaded with extra calories, so while you could eat three bowls of whole grain cereal at home and get a moderate amount of calories, one large, rich hamburger might fill your calorie quota for the day. So a basic key to eating out is eating less of your main meal. One way to control this if you are at a restaurant is to ask only half your meal to be brought out and the other half boxed to take home for later. If you are eating fast food, a smart way to go is ordering a kids meal which has more appropriate portions.
However, we all want to be satisfied at the end of a meal and how do we do that if we are not eating tons of food? We can help control our appetite in a variety of ways. One way is to carry around healthy snacks, maybe some good quality granola bars that you can take between meals to help with hunger. Another recommendation is to drink one to two full cups of water before eating your meal. Not only is water important to your health and hydration, it will help you become full faster. You should also consider taking a multivitamin. Often we crave certain foods when we have nutrient deficiencies. It is also just a smart idea to take a multivitamin especially if we are eating out so we can be sure to get in our vitamin and mineral needs. Also ordering a side salad or a healthy soup can help fill you up with less calories before beginning your meal.
One more thing to think about is making healthy choices to start with. Order a water instead of a soda or coffee or alcohol. Water is the best drink for you and helps you cut out needless calories. Most menus now have meals that are marked as low fat, or healthy choice. Go for those meals. Also think about healthy substitutions you can make—soup instead of the fries the meal comes with, or fresh fruit.
There are many simple ways to eat out the healthy way if we just pay attention to what we eat and how we eat it. From multivitamins to drinking water, don’t let your health get out of control because you eat out.
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