Eat Smart When You Go Out

We all get cravings to eat at a restaurant or want to eat out once in awhile with friends/family. Here are some helpful tips when you plan to eat away from home:

  1. Plan ahead– choose a restaurant with plenty of menu choices, go online and preview the menu
  2. Watch portions and calories– order a side of raw or steamed vegetables right away, the fiber will help make you feel full quicker. Ask for half a portion or order a child’s portion. Ask for extra vegetables and less meat, Drink water before you eat and with your meal.
  3. Know the best “eat-out” foods
  4. Include foods you love when you can!
  5. Order an appetizer as your main meal– it will most likely be a smaller portion
  6. Split a meal with someone else

Smart choices to save calories:

  • Eat a 3 ounce serving of grilled salmon instead of a double cheeseburger (you can save about 440 calories!)
  • Eat a soft taco with grilled chicken instead of nachos with meat and sour cream (You can save up to 1,000 calories!)
  • Eat a medium sized baked potato instead of a cup of potato salad (You can save 270 calories!)
  • Eat 1/2 cup of rice instead of onion rings (Save up to 540 calories!)
  • Eat an English muffin instead of a biscuit (Save 175 calories)
  • Drink a 16 oz. non-fat latte instead of whole milk cafe mocha with whipped cream (Save about 250 calories!)


How Much Sugar Are You Consuming?

The average American consumes, 18-23 teaspoons a day, or 2 pounds of sugar a week, about 2.5 times the recommended daily limit. That is equal to 100-156 pounds of sugar in a year! In the last 20 years we have increased sugar consumption in the United States from 26lbs. of sugar to 135lbs. of sugar per person every year. Sugar is the most widespread form of carbohydrate and the most common ingredient in processed foods. Half of our sugar intake come from “invisible” sugars (foods you don’t think would have sugar in them)

Even if you don’t feel like you are consuming a lot of sugar, you are most likely eating more sugar than your body needs. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day for women and 9 teaspoons for men.

Added sugar is found in many unexpected food items, including sliced bread, wheat crackers, salad dressing, ketchup and energy bars. Soft drinks are largest source refined sugar in children’s diet. Clinical studies show that sugar-free diets are more difficult to follow in the long-term. Sugar-free eating can trigger cravings for sweet foods and disordered eating. Being able to enjoy occasional sugary foods is important (remember moderation is KEY!)

There are many different names for sugar that are on food labels. The trick is if it ends in “ose” it is sugar. Just to name a few: honey, lactose, glucose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, fructose, corn sweetener, juice concentrate, natural sweetener, high fructose corn syrup. Remember to always read food labels and choose brands with lower sugar content. Also, keep in mind that artificial sweeteners, like Splenda, are two hundred times sweeter than sugar! It’s not ideal to consume artificial sweeteners if you want to reduce a sweet tooth.

If you are craving a sugary food, try reaching for a food that is naturally sweetened like fresh fruit. But remember,  just because it is a fresh fruit, doesn’t mean you can eat the whole bowl and not expect your blood sugar to rise. A lot of sugar into the bloodstream upsets body’s blood sugar balance, triggers release of insulin which the body uses to keep blood sugar at a safe level. Insulin also promotes the storage of fat (linked to weight gain and cardiovascular disease). High fiber content foods slows down process of digestion which results in slow release of glucose.


For more information:

Diagram of Portion Control