Healthy Meal, Stat!
Eating healthy at home is easy. You control the selections and choose the cooking methods. When you’re out and about, eating right is challenging and it’s tempting to give in to the neon signs that beckon you to break down and grab a burger in a bag to get you through the day. Choosing nutritious foods on-the-go is easier than you think with a little willpower and planning.
Not only will you look better by eating healthy as often as possible, your energy levels will be higher and you’ll have the self-satisfaction of making sensible lifestyle choices.
Have a plan
If you're spending the day in the city on business or casually clothes shopping at a local mall, check out the dining options the night before on your smart phone, notepad or laptop by searching for restaurants on surrounding streets or in the food court. Peruse a few menus to whet your palate so you look forward to the meal and aren't swayed by aromas of fried food and pizza when your hunger builds. You're more susceptible to make bad food choices if you let your taste buds override your brain. The Thai Chicken Salad from Panera is so delicious, fresh and satisfying — and has only 490 calories! — that you'll instantly forget that fast and fatty food you smelled on your way to the location. You'll also have more vigor and less guilt as you navigate through your afternoon.
Mix it up
It's easy to get into a rut if you eat out a lot in the same neighborhood or small town . Explore different independently-owned and operated restaurants, ask co-workers for their favorite local eateries and sample new ethnic cuisines. Don't limit yourself to salads — there are many wraps, sandwiches, soups and entrees that are just as healthy — if not healthier — than many green and fruit salads. For take-out, indulge in "fusion" food by ordering in several dishes from different cuisines for one meal and delight in how well an Afghani salad pairs with a Chinese soup and an Italian-inspired Panini sandwich.
Although "deconstructed" dishes are usually created by trendy restaurants to show off their imagination, they allow diners the option to pick and choose which parts of the meal to eat and what to leave behind. For instance, a deconstructed cheeseburger has all the components laid out on the plate, so you can make the onion, tomato and lettuce topping into a salad, top it with a few chunks of ground beef and leave the cheese and bread on the plate. You can also discreetly deconstruct dishes on your own or choose a restaurant that will graciously allow you to substitute high calorie or high fat meal components with healthier alternatives when you order.
No more excuses. As the culinary world evolves and meets consumer demands for healthier meal choices, your options for nutritious food increase exponentially. Look at it as an exciting opportunity to experience new flavors concurrent with treating your body to wholesome foods.
If you eat out regularly at a neighborhood spot, kindly suggest healthy options to the manager or owner. They are usually eager to cater to their guests' preferences to build clientele and increase profits.
More about healthy eating
Heart-healthy tips for eating out
The top 3 pitfalls of eating out and how to avoid them
5 Diet tips for dining out