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Monday, February 18, 2008

Eating Healthy While Dining Out

When most people begin a new diet program, dining out doesn't seem like an option. Well, I am here to tell you, it is possible.

The key is to choose meals that are not fried, avoid creamy sauces, pastas and load up on the veggies.

Recently, I went to dinner at P.F. Changs, Outback and Houlihans. Here is what I ate.

P.F. Changs: Changs Spicy Chicken, brown rice and a side of steamed broccoli.

The portions of chicken and rice are way more than a serving, so I ate 1/3 of the chicken and one spoonful of rice and took the rest home. Ordering a side of broccoli not only allowed me to get veggies in my meal, but also prevented me from overeating. I filled up on the broccoli first, that way I wouldn't be tempted to eat too much chicken and rice. As for a drink -- water, of course.

Outback: Chicken Grillers with broccoli.

This dish actually comes with whole grain wild rice, but you can substitue it for a different side and I chose broccoli. I really like this dish because the chicken is grilled and you don't have to worry about extra calories from unwanted sauce. And you can never go wrong with steamed broccoli. As for a drink -- you guessed it, water, with lemon.

Houlihans: Blackened tilapia with sweet potatoes and a side of broccoli.

Now, I must admit, I was a little worried about whether I would find a healthy option here, but I was pleasantly surprised with the tilapia. As with my strategy at P.F. Changs, I ate the broccoli first so I wouldn't eat too many potatos. While sweet potatos are the ideal potato when eating healthy, the portion size was a little large. So, I ate the fish, all of the broccoli and a couple bites of potato. And yes, water with lemon was my drink of choice.

As you can see, eating healthy while out isn't impossible. Just remember to look for grilled meats without heavy sauces, load up on the veggies and watch the portions. If it is too much, half it. Eat one half at the restaurant and take the other half home.

1 comment:

AndreaR.D. said...

Making healthy choices when dining out can seem like an overwhelming venture! Thankfully, HEALTHY DINING’S new online resource makes it easy! Just log on to the free site HealthyDiningFinder.com to find HEALTHY DINING choices -- and corresponding nutrition information -- at over 50,000 restaurant locations, ranging from fast food to upscale dining (including PF Chang's). You can “search” for participating restaurants by specifying zip code or location information and desired price range. The site also offers free e-newsletters, recipes, nutrition tips and more.
HEALTHY DINING’s expert staff of registered dietitians and master's level health/nutrition professionals consult with each participating restaurant to find and/ modify menu items that meet the following nutrition criteria: Entrées (or full meals) must include at least one of the following: lean protein (skinless white meat poultry, fish/seafood (including salmon), tofu, etc.), fruits and/or vegetables and/or 100% whole grains. Entrees must also be 750 calories or less, have 25 grams of fat or less, and contain no more than 8 grams of saturated fat. Bon appétit!
Healthy Regards,
Andrea Ogden, R.D.