During the fall, families are busy with back to school, sports and planning for the holidays. It is easy to grab a meal on the go, or opt for dining out rather than cooking a meal at home. There are many choices to be made when eating out as it seems everything is always so tempting. It’s important to make smart choices, but when you are struggling with your weight it is not an easy thing to do. Dr. Andy Fine of Colorado Primary Health Care explains some of the things you need to be aware of and pay attention to when eating at a restaurant or going for fast food.
Many people think fast food is all bad for you and there is nothing you can order that is healthy for you. However, it is not necessarily true that you are going to gain ten pounds from eating out when you are traveling on business, going on vacation, or enjoying a night out with the family. The first thing you should do when eating out routinely is to have a plan for what and how often you are going to eat. For example, a healthy choice would be to drink more liquids before eating or opt for soups and meals high in vegetables to maximize your nutrients and while consuming less calories ie: green beans and squash. Proteins such as beef and other meats are known to stay in your stomach longer which keep you full longer.
In addition to this, it is beneficial to create a plan on how you are going to incorporate some sort of exercise routine. Most people who have a large meal while eating out are not going to exercise, although exercise is one of the most important things. If you do nothing else, take a fast walk for 10 minutes after you have eaten. It will increase your digestion and certainly decrease the total calories you have taken in, because you are burning off freshly digested carbohydrates and more. So, a quick walk is one step in the process of making smart choices while eating out.
The key to weight loss is trying to get your metabolism up. With short intense bursts of exercise, your heart rate goes up and you are breathing harder vs long slow walks for an hour that do not get your heart rate up. In addition to good exercise for weight stabilization or reductions, is the intake of lean proteins, turkey, fish, chicken and fruits. And, vegetables… always eat as many as you like within reason. With these items in your diet, you have less dense, low calories that fill you up and prevent you from being hungry, but at the same time gives you quality calories.
So when eating out at restaurants, as hard as it might be, skip the breads and desserts and eat smaller portions, take home a “doggie bag” for another meal. Often, many restaurants serve three times the portion size needed. Be aware of the appetizers, extra cheeses and butter hidden in all the recipes that add to your caloric intake.
Fast food locations do have healthy options, with grilled chicken, salads and fruit sides. Avoid the cheese, mayonnaise and heavy dressings. Normally the larger cheeseburgers and burritos are half of your daily needed calories.
Portion control, plan ahead, stay away from the extra calories, and bursts of exercise after meals can help with maintaining a healthy eating lifestyle on the go.