These days most people are so busy with work, kids, errands, and often caregiver responsibilities for a loved one that it is easier to let the priority of healthy eating slip to the bottom of the list. It takes effort and commitment to change eating habits. Change doesn’t typically happen overnight and that’s okay. After all, it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so stick with it after a couple of weeks and you will have a higher success rate. Eventually, your new eating habits will become second nature, just as your old ones did. Eating healthier will improve your life as a whole. You will look better, feel better, and be healthier! Don’t let the luxury of dining out be an excuse to eat unhealthy foods. By thinking ahead and making smart choices, you can follow a low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol diet almost anywhere you go!
- Ask for it your way.
- Ask about low-fat or fat-free choices.
- Ask the server to make substitutions such as, steamed vegetables instead of french fries.
- Pick lean meat, fish, or skinless chicken as a main dish. They are less fatty meats.
- If an entrée fried, request it is broiled, baked, grilled, steamed, or poached.
- Order vegetable side dishes and without sauce or butter.
- Use a lemon to squeeze on your salad instead of their regular dressing. Or get dressing on the side and dip your fork as you eat.
- If you can’t seem to find anything suitable for your eating plan, ask if the chef will make you a fruit or vegetable platter.
- Push the butter out of your way or ask that it be removed.
- Order your dressings and sauces on the side so you can control how much you use.
- Avoid fried appetizers and creamy soups. Begin your meal with broth-based soup like minestrone or gazpacho.
- At salad bars, stay away from high-fat items like cheese, cream dressings, chopped eggs, croutons, olives, and bacon bits.
- Ask that your food be made without butter or cream sauces. You’ll be surprised at how delicious meat, fish, and chicken can be when broiled “dry.”
- Take the skin off chicken when it arrives, and remove visible.
- Skip the desserts. If you have a sweet tooth order a side of fresh fruit.
- At Oriental restaurants, order stir-fried chicken or a fish and vegetable dish. A steamed main dish is an even better choice. Instead of fried rice, ask for steamed rice.
- At Italian restaurants, choose red marinara sauces over white, creamy sauces. Try a fish dish or meatless pasta instead of entrees made with sausage or meatballs. Eat plain Italian bread instead of buttery garlic bread. Go easy on the grated parmesan cheese.
- At Mexican restaurants, enjoy salsa or picante sauce, but limit guacamole, cheese, and sour cream. Opt for corn tortillas over flour and avoid refried beans. Try soups, salads, or fresh seafood instead of fried foods.
(Adapted from the American Heart Association)