Friday, November 30, 2007


Everyday Tips
Food is relatively cheap in this country, and as a result portions are often overly large, especially in fast-food restaurants. But if you're smart about what you order, you can get a healthy meal — including dessert — when eating out. Here are some guidelines:

Avoid fried foods.
Frying adds more fat to a food than broiling, baking, or sautéing. Restaurant fryers often use hydrogenated oils, a source of harmful trans fat.

Avoid dishes prepared with gravy and heavy sauces.
Because gravy is often made with fatty pan drippings from meat, it is relatively high in saturated fat. Many sauces are made with cream, which is also high in saturated fat.

Ask the waiter how large the entrées are.
If they're bigger than the meals you usually eat, consider ordering an appetizer instead or sharing an entrée with someone else. And you don't have to eat everything on your plate. Take home your leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.

Find out how dishes are prepared.
Ask whether a meal you're interested in is made with butter or animal fat. If it is, consider asking that the dish be prepared with olive oil instead, or that it be baked, steamed, or sautéed with less fat. Steer clear of meals that are prepared with a lot of cheese or cream.

Eat a light, healthy snack. Munch on a piece of fruit or some carrots before going out. That way, you won't be so ravenous when you arrive at the restaurant that you'll gorge on the bread served at the table (which will probably be white bread and, therefore, have a high glycemic load).

Share desserts.
If you want a sweet dessert, consider sharing it with others at your table. You'll get the full taste, but just a fraction of the calories, sugar, and bad fats.

From the Harvard Health Publications Special Health Report, Healthy Eating: A Guide to the New Nutrition. Copyright 2006 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Illustrations by Christopher Bing, Lynn Jeffery, and Doug McGredy. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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