#10 MGM: Choose The Best Option
In today’s world, most of us are on the run and sometimes we have to eat out to get through the day. It happens, no one is perfect and sometimes there are no other options. But what you order can also be hurting your healthy lifestyle. When it comes to eating out, you do not have to deprive yourself from flavor instead just working on choosing more wisely when you are out.
This week I challenge you to choose the best option when eating out.
When most people think about a healthier meal when eating out, they automatically think they can only have a salad. Trust me, the salads might not be the best choice because the dressing alone might make your salad more calories than a burger.
How to Help Choose The Best Option
Check out the menu before you go out
If you know in advance where you are heading to eat, go online and check out the nutrition. Think about what you are thinking of having and look at the nutritional information on the item. Focus on calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat to start with. From there, look at other menu items that are similar to what you are thinking about and determine the best option based on the nutrition and your taste buds.
When you get to the restaurant be the first one in your party to order. When you hear what other people are getting you might change your mind about what you are getting. You did your research now is the time to stick with it and get the plate you have been dreaming about all day.
Look for Specific Keywords
Do not have time to check out the menu beforehand, no problem? Look for specific keywords on the menu that can help you determine the best option. Healthy keywords include baked, broiled, roasted, grilled, and steamed. Unhealthy keywords include fried, creamed, braised, buttered, a la mode, battered, and crispy.
What makes it the best option?
Look at the ingredients
Ingredients tell the story of your meal. When you look at the ingredients, look for food items that will protein, fat, or carbohydrates. Protein ingredients include meat, chicken, fish, beans, cheese, and eggs. Fat can be tricky to determine at some restaurants and in general. When looking at the ingredients you want to choose meals that are high in your “good” fats or your monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, ingredients like olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Carbohydrates can be made up of pasta, rice, bread, vegetables, and fruits.
Protein Stands out
When looking at the ingredients, it might be best to focus on the protein sources. It is best to ensure that your meal has protein in it to help keep you full after the meal. Many restaurants are good about ensuring there is protein within their menu items. When in doubt focus on the protein.
Best options at common restaurants
Curious about what are some of the best options at restaurants? Below is a short list of healthy options at common fast food restaurants.
- Egg White Delight McMuffin – 250 calories, 29g carbs, 17g protein, 8g fat
- Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich – 360 calories, 44g carbs, 37g protein, 6g fat
- Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad – 350 calories, 27g carbs, 37g protein, 12g fat
- Protein Bistro Box – 370 calories, 37g carbs, 13g protein, 19g fat
- Ham & Swiss Panini – 380 calories, 46g carbs, 19g protein, 11g fat
- Reduced-fat Turkey Bacon & Cage Free Egg White Breakfast Sandwich – 23 calories, 28g carbs, 16 protein, 6g fat
- The Gladiator Taco – 280 calories, 16g carbs, 17g protein, 17g fat
- Triple Threat Taco – 250 calories, 17g carbs, 17g protein, 12g fat
Curious what other Registered Dietitians eat at fast food places? Check out this great article by SELF – 12 Things Registered Dietitians Order When They Get Fast Food.
When life gets busy it can be easier to just grab something out for a quick bite to eat. There is nothing wrong with that, but it becomes important to choose the best option that can help maintain your healthy lifestyle. Take time to check out menus and find healthy alternatives to your go-to meal now.
#9 MGM Recap: Re-evaluate your diet
Last week, I really focused on getting a bigger picture of what my diet really consists of. Since I find myself eating most of my meals out of my lunchbox in the car, I learned that all my meals are the same. I do not have a large variety in my diet and can tell I am missing some nutrients. By taking the time to re-evaluate my diet, I now have a new perspective on my diet and areas of improvement I need to make. What were some of your areas you need improvement in when it comes to your diet?
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