Eating Out and On the Run – Healthy!

Drive Thru

These are two times where people looking to eat healthy are usually stumped. Luckily, if this is you, you’re not alone. But we are in a much better spot than as little as five years ago. Whether it is our society pressuring restaurants or them taking initiative on their own, they are recognizing that many more people are looking to eat healthy.

Nowadays most restaurants and fast food chains, even 7-eleven, have an array of healthy options. Many restaurants actually list some of their healthier choices right on the menu – providing nutritional information such as sodium, protein, fat and calories. Convenience stores offer fresh fruit, veggie trays, wraps and protein bars.

Here are suggestions and tips that you can use to make better choices on the go.

  1. Food Groups: Ensure when you are eating a meal out that you choose something that includes 3 or 4 of the food groups (veggies/fruit, carbohydrates, meat or alternatives, and dairy).
  2. Substitutions: Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want including substitutions: salad or cooked vegetables instead of fries, grilled meat instead of deep fried and dressing on the side (you can determine how much you want rather than having it drenched in high calorie and fat dressings)
  3. Take Advantage of Options: Many fast food restaurants have lots of healthy choices on their menus.   No longer is it only an option of deep fried or cheese slathered. Today the majority offer delicious salads, wraps, baked potatoes, apple slices vs. fries, gilled vs. breaded etc…
  4. Beverages add up: Rather than ordering a super-sized pop which have a super-sized amount of sugar and empty calories choose water, fruit juice (cut with water as juice has lots of sugar too), or milk. If you must have a pop, choose diet.

Here are a few other general “better” choices to make when eating out – or eating in general…

  • Whole wheat/grain over white bread/rice
  • Tomato-based soups and pasta sauces over cream-based
  • Boneless, skinless chicken over skin-on, bone-in
  • Steamed, baked, broiled, or grilled over deep-fried
  • “Natural/raw” (fresh chicken) over processed (nuggets)
  • Whole wheat, thin crust (pizza) over regular, thick crust

There is nothing to say that you can never again have those delicious fries or your favorite burger. Just try to remember to follow the 80/20 or 90/10 rule (healthy choices/”not as healthy”). Hopefully these tips and suggestions can help you make better choices if you need some help when eating out.


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