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Seek First the Benefits

by Jennifer Gumba

From an early age, taste and familiarity influence behavior towards food. People tend to choose what is tasty rather than what is beneficial. A liking for sweetness and a dislike for bitterness are considered innate human traits. Also, there is no doubt that the cost of food is a primary determinant of food choice.

The family is widely recognized as being significant in food decisions. Research shows the shaping of food choices taking place at home. There are many influences on selection which provide a whole set of means to intervene into and improve people’s food choices.

Nowadays, most restaurants offer “healthier fare” menu items; there’s usually a key at the bottom of the menu telling you which items are lower in fat and calories. When perusing these choices on the menu, consider the following suggestions:

• Choose lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, lean sirloin, and fish.
• Choose food that is grilled, baked, broiled, steamed, roasted, or boiled. All of these options are much healthier than fried.
• Avoid entrees with sausage, cream sauces, and fatty cuts of meat such as prime rib or brisket.
• Meats such as tenderloin, flank steak, and sirloin are leaner choices.
• Words such as au gratin, braised, confit, and scalloped most likely mean the dish has added fat in the form of cheese and butter.
• Opt for baked potatoes or steamed vegetables over French fries, onion rings or creamed spinach.

In addition, here are a couple of healthier menu choice options available at a variety of restaurants:

• At Italian restaurants, choose pasta with marinara sauce, minestrone soup, and garden salads.
• For Mexican dining, chicken, shrimp, or vegetable fajitas with corn tortillas and no cheese or sour cream can be a healthy choice.
• At Chinese restaurants, ask for brown rice and stir-fried chicken with vegetables. Order the sauce on the side and use just a few teaspoons.
• For a diner-style restaurant, try grilled chicken breast or fish with a baked potato topped with fresh herbs, salt and pepper with a cup of vegetable soup.

If you happen to get a very large meal, one great trick is to ask for a to-go box when the main course is served, then tuck away half for lunch tomorrow. One more easy meal later, right?

Just in case you’re tempted to splurge, which is just fine on occasion, look at this information below:

Working off fast food:

Small Fries: 30 minutes cardio and 20 minutes weight lifting
Small Nacho Plate: 30 minutes kick boxing
Ice Cream Sundae: 30 minutes cardio and 30 minutes weight lifting
Cheeseburger: 30 minutes spin class
Deep Dish Pizza slice: 4.5 mile run
Buffalo Wings: 40 minute bike ride

There are many influences on food choice which provide a whole set of means to intervene into and improve people’s food choices. Hoping that these tips for eating healthy while dining out will help you in making healthier food choices the next time you’re at a restaurant.

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