Edmonton Healthy Strategies When Eating Out

Just over one-third of Canadians eat out at least once a week, 61 percent dine at a restaurant at least two or three times a month, and 2 percent say they eat out every day. Not surprisingly, 57 percent of Canadians say dinner is the most popular out-of-home meal, but 13 percent said that breakfast was the meal they ate out most.

When you eat at home (or "brown bag" it) you are in control of what you eat. When you dine out, watching your waistline and your general health becomes more challenging. Typically, you have less control over portions sizes, and you have no control over preparation and cooking methods, and less control over food quality. But you can improve your odds, with a few simple tips.

Select the right restaurant
If you select a restaurant without preparation & research, you leave yourself more open to creamy, fatty and suggary meals, without offering yourself some healthy options.

Things you can do at home
Here are some things you can do at home (or at the office) before heading off to the restaurant. A little preparation saves a frustrating decision at dinner (or a workout afterwards, to offset it).

At the dinner table
This is a critical point that sets the tone for the rest of the evening. It's when much of our mindless munching happens, we can see and smell the food all around us, and we're usually at our hungriest. If there were ever a perfect time to take charge of your experience, this is it. Get off on the right foot.

Ordering dinner
These decisions are easier if you plan ahead. Most menus don't include nutrition information (not in Canada, yet). In a cruch, here are some guidelines:

Ordering Appetizers
Sometimes is not an optimal choice to skip past appetizers for the main course. Sometimes the appetizers present healthier options or better portion sizes. And they may fill you up so you can choose wiser for the Entrée. Watch ouot for hidden calories and fat.

ordering Soups or Salads
High fiber soups and salads can curb hunger and add vegetables & nutrients to your meal. Leafy greens are more filling and healthier than gorging on French fries later in the meal.

Ordering Entrees
The highlight of your meal can be tasty and meet your dietary needs if you exercise diligence in the preparation methods and in the sauces.

Ordering Side dishses
This course is so often an afterthought, but can really make or break your dining out diet. It's a great opportunity to load up on nutrients and build confidence with some smart choices.

Eating Your Meal
Dining out is a chance to enjoy yourself, your dining companion(s), and a good meal. Here are some strategies for eating in healthier manner:

Enjoying Desserts
You are in the home stretch… here's where you should seek to maximize the flavour without totally depriving your sweet tooth. Depriving yourself of dessert won't work in the long run, but try to find smart ways to enjoy a little bit.

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