By now it is probably clear to most consumers that eating out is not the healthiest choice. Yet, all the marketing hype projected by restaurants can sound quite convincing. Restaurants and fast food chains are pitching everything from fat free, no carbs, low calories, high fiber and other specialty menu items.
Many even make specific promises about their food choices by providing nutritional information guides and even list macro nutrient details right on their menus. Such details have been welcomed by millions of consumers who are watching their waist line. Unfortunately, even if you adhere to ordering from these "healthy" menu offerings, you may still find yourself struggling to lose weight.
There may be a legitimate reason for this struggle; it's been discovered that many of these so-called healthy menus are providing misleading information. A recent Scripps Television Station investigation revealed very disheartening results. The investigation uncovered huge discrepancies.
Both restaurant chains and fast food establishments were tested in the investigation. While some food menu items matched their published nutrition details or came close, others had variances such as twice as many calories or eight times as many fat grams. Yikes! That means while you might have counted that meal you ate out last night as only 500 calories, in reality it might have been a whopping 1,000 calories!
So, if you rely on self-published macro nutrients from restaurants, you may be severely sabotaging your diet. Does this mean you must cook every meal you consume, seven days per week? No! This investigation's evidence is just a reminder that YOU must always take full responsibility for understanding what is going in your mouth.
Rather than relying on caloric and fat information provided by restaurants, just stick with these tips when dining out:
- Start your meal with a salad that ONLY consists of veggies. Have your salad dressing on the side and try to use only 3 to 4 spoonfuls of it on your salad.
- Order your meals steamed, grilled or broiled.
- Avoid items that are fried or sautéed.
- When your server brings your meal to you. Ask that half of it already be placed in a to-go bag. Then save that portion for another day.
- Ask that side veggies be steamed with no added butter or sauces.
- Choose beverages without sugar or sugar substitutes. Try water with lemon slices, unsweetened tea or caffeine free coffee.
- Skip the bread bowl.
- Don't order appetizers in addition to an entrée.
- Share a meal with a friend.
- For sandwiches, ask for whole wheat bread.
About the author:
Lynn Bode is a certified personal trainer specializing in Internet-based fitness programs.