A recent study of our US dining habits by the American Cancer Society took a look at 12k adults over a 7 year period. According to the study, we eat out an average of 2X a week, taking in an extra 200 calories…and the quality of those calories is more saturate fat, sugar and sodium.
Their lead researcher Binh Nguyen, PhD, said “If you eat out 2 days per week and do not exercise or reduce intake during the day, the additional caloric intake is about 20,000 calories per year, the equivalent of about 6 pounds annually.”
Yikes. Ok, I am an analyst by day, so I immediately started doing more scenarios…what if we eat out 3X a week, or 5X a week, or more..? You get the picture. Scary huh? Couple that with significantly more sedentary lifestyles (sitting is the new “smoking”) and it’s no wonder we have the health challenges we do.
Now, you can eat out and still eat healthy, but it will take a little planning in advance. Try these simple strategies:
|Before you head out, look up the restaurant’s menu online. Most have calorie counts for better decision making. Just remember, many calorie totals exclude salad dressings and other toppings.|
|If you can’t get calorie counts, keep an eye out for lower fat options like clear, broth-based soups or spinach salads with the dressing on the side. With entrees, go for grilled, broiled, or steamed vs. fried. You can always ask your waiter for healthier options and most restaurants will work with you on adjustments. (high maintenance ordering as my kids like to tease!)|
|Remember portion distortion. Most entrees will serve 2-3 people! Split your meal AND save a buck. This works even better with desserts…if you must indulge in the chocolate cake (Lisa), get a spoon for everyone at the table!
Be fit, live well, laugh often.