(CARLSBAD, CA) – Would you like to supersize that? Shall I show you the dessert menu? How about more chips and salsa? If any of these questions have a familiar ring, then you may be one of the many Americans who dines away from home approximately four times every week.
According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Americans get 32% of their calorie intake from restaurant or takeout food. This percentage has doubled in the past 30 years. Our schedules are busier than ever, and sometimes we simply can’t avoid eating out.
Unfortunately, with large portion sizes, fat-laden sauces, and sodium-packed appetizers, it doesn’t seem easy to eat healthily while dining out. Yet, a few simple changes can cut the calorie count of your meal in a big way. Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett suggests the following ideas for healthy eating when dining out.
- Eat a light snack about one hour before dining out to avoid diving into the breadbasket when you arrive at the restaurant.
- Order low-calorie beverages. Consider sparkling water or green tea.
- Plan ahead. Many restaurants have their menus posted online, complete with calorie counts. Before meeting friends at a restaurant, scan the menu for a healthy choice.
- Ask for a half-size portion. If it isn’t available, then request half of your meal to be portioned into a doggie bag right away.
- Choose an appetizer instead of a full entrée.
- Select foods that are steamed, broiled, baked, or roasted.
- Order your meal without gravy or sauces.
- Choose your salad carefully. Caesar, Greek, and taco salads are higher in calories. Chef salads are typically high in fat, due to the cheese, meat, and eggs.
- Beware of dressing on the side. Restaurants frequently serve up to three times the amount of dressing on the side. So, order dressing on the side, then serve yourself no more than one spoonful.
- Never supersize anything! If your schedule mandates a stop at the fast food drive-thru, then order the smallest portions available. Choose the regular hamburger instead of the double, and the small fries rather than the large. You’ll save about half the calories and two-thirds the fat.
If these changes seem overwhelming, then don’t do everything at once. Try just one or two of these tips the next time you’re dining out. By implementing small changes in your dining habits, you may see big changes in your waistline.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,500 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.