If you are a food enthusiast like I am, you may frequent and "Yelp" every trendy restaurant out there. I value a restaurant that serves high-quality food with high-quality ingredients. However, when I eat out more than I should, I gain weight.
We may not know everything that happens in the kitchen and what additives or ingredients are included in the meals. One time I ordered spinach as a side dish thinking it was healthy, but when it was served I found it drenched in butter. It was time to rethink the "restaurant etiquette" for health.
In perusing many different restaurants in the DC Metropolitan area, I noticed a trend. More places are tailoring their menus to vegetarians and the health conscience, and some places are even recognized as "Healthy Restaurant Certified."
The key to "restaurant etiquette" is to look for certain qualities in a restaurant.
What to look for:
-Calorie posts-many restaurants are including calories on their menus and menu boards indicating the number of calories in a particular item.
-Some menus provide a "heart healthy" logo that indicates food items that are heart friendly.
-Items with fresh vegetables included in the description list.
-Healthy options such as fruit, whole grains and legumes.
-Look for the "Healthy Restaurant Certified" sticker on the outside of the restaurant.
We know our bodies well enough to know what works for us in terms of weight loss, but how about our minds and how we control ourselves? It's important to shape our attitudes to have a positive experience with healthy foods. The American diet is high in salt and laden with fat which may lead to hypertension and other health problems. These foods may become addictive and lead us to believe they are fun and palatable. We can retrain our taste buds and feed our bodies with fresher and healthier foods.
Tips for your mind:
Taste your food before seasoning it. Most foods are already seasoned and does not need extra salt. The daily recommended for sodium is about a teaspoon (2,300 mg).
Before you start eating analyze your plate. If the portion sizes are too large, halve it, bag it up, and eat it as leftovers.
Condiments-limit creamy toppings such as sour cream and cheese. For the non-vegetarians, think of meat as a condiment and eat in small amounts. For example, a serving size is like a deck of cards and not the size of a keyboard.
Healthy can be fun. Hundreds of healthy and tasty recipes are provided on many health Web sites. Mix up and vary textures with healthy ingredients so you won't get bored with your food.
If you must eat something fried, put a few on your plate take the rest away from you.
You don't have to limit all things considered "unhealthy" since every meal is a choice you make. Eat in moderation and when eating out follow the "healthy restaurant etiquette" and leave feeling satisfied.
Jina Kim, MPH, CPT
Jina has a Master’s in Public Health from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Her passion is for health, fitness, and nutrition, and she devotes her time to motivate individuals with health needs. As an advocate for wellness and prevention she writes for a variety of publications and has been a speaker at meetings across North America.