Diners have become more health-conscious the last few years, andnow want healthy choices whether eating at home or at theirfavorite restaurants. Luckily, the restaurant industry has beenquick to accommodate the demand, so you'll find you have manyoptions to "eat healthy" these days.
Whether you're eating at home or dining out, the same rules forwatching your weight apply. You need to eat more vegetables,fruit and whole grains. Choose smaller portions of lean meats,fish and poultry. Eat a variety of foods, and fresh, raw foodsare better. Cut back on salt, sugar, saturated fats and alcohol.Drink plenty of water, and include exercise every day as part ofyour daily lifestyle choice.
So whether you're having lunch with the gang, or enjoying aromantic dinner for two, you can enjoy delicious-tasting foodsthat are low-in calories and good for you, with just a littleforethought and planning.
Here are some easy tips to remember when ordering out that willhelp you to lose weight even when eating at your favoriterestaurants:
1. If you know the menu from the restaurant you're going to, planwhat you're going to have ahead of time. This will help save youfrom making a last minute decision that could result inhigh-calorie choices.
2. Drink at least one full-glass of water or iced tea beforeeating your meal. This helps your digestive process, and,because you'll feel full sooner, you will eat less.
3. Don't be afraid to ask for the "senior citizen" special orkid's-sized portions. Most restaurants will accommodate you --and often you'll pay less as well!
4. Order first. That way you're much less likely to be influencedby the choices of your companions.
5. If you're not sure how something is prepared, don't be afraidto ask. And if the dish is cooked in oil or butter, you canalways ask if they have a "fat free" option.
6. If everything on the menu is high in fat or calories, ask ifthe chef could prepare a plate of fresh fruit and vegetables.Many restaurants offer a vegetarian selection, so if you don'tsee it on the menu, ask.
7. When ordering meat or fish, ask that it be grilled or broiled,and prepared without oil or butter. (When you eat it, use lemonor herbs and spices to give it flavor rather than heavy sauces).
8. Order an appetizer and a salad as your meal. Or a soup andsalad. For dessert, choose fresh fruit.
9. When choosing soup, remember that cream-based soups have manymore calories than broth-based ones.
10. If you're having a full meal, split the appetizer and desertwith your companion.
11. If you decide to order pasta, tomato sauce has fewer caloriesthan cream-based sauces, just like soup.
12. Choose breadsticks over bread, or if you eat bread, don't addbutter. Stay away from muffins and croissants, and choose wholegrain over white.
13. Choose steamed vegetables instead of baked potatoes or otherstarches. Again, use lemon and herbs and spices rather thanbutter to flavor them with.
14. Whenever possible, eat like the Europeans do, and have yourbiggest meal at lunchtime. Not only will you save money, butyou'll cut down on calories at the same time!
15. Take the time to enjoy your meal. Savor the flavors andtextures of your food, and enjoy the company you're with. Whenyou eat slowly, you give your body's internal clock the time itneeds to know when you've had enough. When you're full, stopeating. Ask your server to remove your plate so you're nottempted to keep eating while you wait for your companion tofinish.
16. Ask for salsa on your baked potatoes, rather than sour creamand butter. Not only is salsa much lower in calories, but itadds a "spicy" flavor to potatoes.
17. Order salad dressings and sauces "on the side." This givesyou more control of how much to use. Another tip for saladdressing -- rather than pouring the salad dressing on your salad,dip your fork into the dressing first, and then into the salad. You'll get the same amount of flavor, without all the addedcalories!
18. Choose brown rice over white rice (or french fries), wholegrain breads and rolls over white. Not only are they lower incalories, but they are better for you.
19. Stay away from "all you can eat" buffets and salad bars. It'stoo easy to lose track of the amount of food you're eating, evenwhen it's salads. If that's your only choice, then stay awayfrom the pasta, marinated salads, cheeses and fruit salads withwhipped cream. Stick to soups, raw vegetables and fresh fruits.
20. Have your soup first. It will help to fill you up, and mostsoups have fewer calories.
21. If you're craving something sweet, and don't want freshfruit, choose sorbet. If you absolutely HAVE to have thechocolate sauce, use the same trick as you did with the saladdressing -- dip your fork into it first, then your dessert.
22. Split your dessert with your companion. You'll still feellike you got to be indulgent, and you'll only have to exercisehalf as long to burn off the extra calories!
23. When ordering sandwiches, order them with mustard only,rather than mayonnaise. Not only does mustard have almost nocalories, but you won't miss the mayo!
24. If the portion you were served is large, only eat half of it.Take the other half home. Not only will you get two meals forthe price of one, but you'll cut the calories in half as well!
25. Go for a walk after eating. Stroll along the beach, walkthrough a park, visit a zoo. You'll burn calories and get yourexercise at the same time!
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.
Emily Clark is editor at Lifestyle Health News and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on many medical, health and lifestyle topics.
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