Eating Healthy When Eating Out

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • Poor food choices are ubiquitous at many entertainment venues.


    If you’re like me, your summer was filled with day trips, weekend getaways, and week-long vacations. I enjoyed my excursions but took note of how difficult it often was to find healthy food choices at many of the attractions. While it may not be all that surprising that county fairs are filled with food trucks offering deep-fried sugar-coated funnel cakes and burgers served on glazed donuts, it surprised me that these foods also were what was available at a high-toned charity horse show I attended.


    While one of the pleasures of travel is to discover different regions, cuisines, and cultures across America and abroad, we must be ever-mindful to eat healthy while on the road. So how do we keep our wayward eating habits at bay and make healthful food choices when temptation abounds?

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    Plan Ahead of Time

    When possible, I find out which eateries are available at my destination before I get there. This is especially easy to do using the Internet. I review the menu online and plan not only where I will eat, but what I will eat.


    This approach has helped me in several ways. First, I am able to ignore temptation when hunger strikes and the urge to eat whatever is within reach. Second, I am able to enjoy my adventure without the stress of trying to search out a suitable place to eat. This has alleviated tension for my family, too, whom I drag along from eatery to eatery as I review their menus. Third, when I sit down to order my food and already know what I will order, it makes it less stressful for my dining companions. Otherwise, the ordering process can take me what seems like forever.


    Read: 6 Secrets to Eating Italian Food on a Diet



    Most venues, even food trucks, are willing to make healthy substitutions to your meal.


    Be a Finicky Eater

    It’s perfectly fine to ask your server to make substitutions that make your meal healthier. Eliminate the fries and order a side salad. Add extra protein and veggies to a sandwich; better yet, make the sandwich into a salad with low-fat dressing. Skip the soda and get bottled water. After a while, this effort will become habitual. I am able to quickly look at a menu and know what is really healthy, what is not, and what I might be able to modify to make it healthy.


    Read: We’re Not Eating as Healthy as We Think, Study Shows


    Bring Your Own

    Oftentimes my favorite solution is to pack my own picnic, or otherwise bring my own food. The quality of the food that I eat at home surpasses the quality of food served at most restaurants in terms of nutritional value. For the price of eating at a mediocre burger joint, I can bring along a gourmet lunch of healthful foods. My most recent picnic included smoked duck breast, duck confit, salmon pastrami, and a selection of goat’s milk, cow’s milk, and sheep’s milk cheese, with some fruit and veggies to round out the meal. All of the items were from local farmers and from animals raised on pasture without hormones or antibiotics. The fish was wild caught.


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    Read: Eating Healthy While on the Go


    The bottom line: Dozens of studies link eating out with obesity. We should try to eat healthfully at restaurants. We can do this by avoiding the high-fat and sugar-laden foods on the menu and ordering healthy sides and beverages.


    Living life well-fed,

    My Bariatric Life


Published On: September 06, 2013