Saturday, March 7, 2009

eat right on the run

Unfortunately eating healthy takes effort, and a lot of the time it is just easier to eat fast food (quick, readily available, and inexpensive), or it's the only thing available.

Trying to eat healthy at a fast-food restaurant can be a bit of an oxymoron, but there are few things you can do to lighten the fat, calorie, and sugar load that ultimately affects your overall health strategy.

1. Do your homework.
If you know you are going to be on the road, then read up online about your favorite fast-food restaurants. Today, most chains will provide nutritional profiles for all of their food options, arming you ahead of time with the best choices from each place, and helping you determine which chains to completely avoid.

2. Remove all the extras.
Avoid cheeses, sour cream, dressings, and spreads. I know it's not quite as exciting, but you will save yourself a lot of calories and fat.

3. Pay attention to how your food is prepared.
The answer may be right in front of you: If you see the words "fried", "breaded", or "creamy" then you know that's not going to work. Some places offer you a choice for how you want your food prepared; if it's available, always go for the broiled or steamed version.

4. Drink water.
You would be amazed how many calories and how much sugar are in sodas. Avoid all sugary drinks, and yes this means diet drinks as well. We drink about 20% of our daily calories, so you can eliminate 1/5 of your calories by simply drinking water. If you get really bored, grab a lemon and throw it in your water or go for an unsweetened tea.

5. No buffets of any kind.
Not seafood, salad, or any other kind of buffet. This is a set up to overeat, and there are way too many options for extras like sauces, dressings, and unlimited sweets.

6. Don't inhale your food.
If you are going to have a meal, then do your best to chew it, smell it, taste it, and enjoy it. You will eat more slowly and digest your food better overall. Plus, I think we have the tendency to eat less if we pay attention to what we are consuming.

7. If you love your buns, then get the bun on the side.
I enjoy bread just like you, but if you ditch the bun you will see how great you feel, and in time, how white flour affects your gut and butt. If you happen to be at the world's most delicious Italian restaurant, where they make their own baguettes, then go for it. If we are talking about a store-bought hamburger bun, then pass.

8. Your food is salty enough.
I am quoting Dr. Oz, but he said the number one harmful risk to your health is high blood pressure. Don't add any more salt to your already salty food.

9. Look into the future.
I mean this on a lot of levels. Continue to think about your long term health and fitness goals, and if you know you have a nutty week coming up that's a little bit more out of your control, then reel it in this week. Get even more disciplined about your eating and fitness regimens since you may not have that same luxury the following week. Help yourself where and when you can.

10. No super anything.
Don't "grande" or "supersize" any of your meals. Overeating is the only result from oversized portions. Control the amount of food you are eating before you have your plate in front of you.

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