How Can I Eat Healthy When Eating Away From Home?

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You’ve decided to eat healthier.  Your choices for your meals contain lots of stuff like fresh fruits and veggies, unprocessed foods, lean meats and less salt.  You begin to feel pretty good about this and then…BAM! You are invited out for dinner.  And the biggest concern is: How can I stay healthy when I’m eating away from home? Well, the good news is, you can! And it’s easier than you think.

One great tip is to avoid the breadbasket.  So often, bread contains white flour and, more dangerously, high fructose corn syrup, which is absolutely no good for you.  (See for more info on the dangers of HFCS). The healthiest choice when it comes to bread is the sprouted grain variety, and with the exception of some excellent health conscious restaurants, you almost certainly won’t find that in a breadbasket.  Also, it’s best to avoid starch accompaniments altogether.  With the possible exception of a dry baked potato or yam, many starchy dishes are often made with refined and processed flours and it’s impossible to tell what other additives might be in them.

Plan ahead! If you know where you’ll be eating, you can almost certainly check out a menu online.  Being prepared means less concern and worry when at a restaurant and more confidence in your choices.  Also, never be afraid to ask what a dish is sautéed in, or what oils are used in preparation.  Olive oil is great.  Corn or ‘vegetable’ oil is not. Avoid fried dishes.  In addition to not being healthful for reasons of fat content, oil in restaurants is often used over and over again for frying, which creates an increase in carcinogenic free radicals in the oil.  If you have food allergies or sensitivies, call ahead of time and ask if they have options on the menu that don’t contain those ingredients or ask if they will modify a dish.

Bring along some stevia.  If you enjoy sweetened iced tea, for example, stevia is a much better choice than sugar or artificial sweeteners.  Avoid sugary desserts or dessert beverages.  Keep in mind that many restaurants have an abundance of salad choices for both lunch and dinner.  Add some lean protein to a salad, along with a balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing, and you have a tasty, healthful meal.  You can even bring along some Bragg’s apple cider vinegar and mix with olive oil for an even healthier alternative.  Tired of salads? Try some grilled fish, chicken without the skin or another lean meat.  Also keep in mind that many places have vegetarian options these days and, provided the dishes are steamed, grilled or baked, you really can’t go wrong.  Just leave the sauces off or ask the waiter to put them on the side. Another tip? Avoid fast food restaurants! Yes, even the salads!

Just remember: eating healthy doesn’t have to mean being ultra restrictive or not having fun.  Food is meant to be enjoyed and there are so many ways to do that while keeping in harmony with your body.  Here’s to your good health!

About the author

As holistic nutritionist, Nikki Ostrower is your personal advocate for living an energized and passionate life. She is driven by her passion and commitment to help you find which food and lifestyle choices will work best for you and the life you desire. You can read more about NAO Nutrition and follow Nikki at @naonutrition

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