Eat away from home–the healthy way

It is re-enrollment time for my insurance at work. As I was looking over the plans for low cost health insurance, we heard a little more about the programs over a pizza lunch. (A way to lure us all there? A very successful ploy.)

While I loved the pizza, I kept thinking how that was a little backwards. We are talking about lowering out health care costs while stuffing our faces with pizza. Ironic, no?

As summer comes, I think the days get busier. With kids out of school and with the sun shining, I feel constantly rushed to make it places and to overextend myself. This often leads to very poor eating habits– like my pizza insurance lunch. (I forgot my lunch from home. So it was either overly cheesed pizza or nothing.) While I am not suggesting that you never eat pizza, I am suggesting that you make other healthy choices so eating a piece of pizza will not derail your eating habits.

The best way to avoid busy eating downfalls is to plan ahead. While this can seem a bit painful and tedious, I can vouch that it works! When faced with an uncertain lunch, I almost always choose an unhealthy choice on a whim. However, when I plan ahead to bring a meal from home, there is not a choice. If I plan ahead a bring healthy snacks, I eat my healthy snacks.

Eat snacks. Have you ever heard to eat five to six small meals instead of just three? This helps you avoid getting hungry. When I get famished, I eat anything in sight, whether it is good for me or not. Instead, I plan snacks. I eat smaller regular meals three times a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and eat snacks in between. I avoid getting hungry and feeling overly full so I do not over indulge on something I would regret later.

A busy summer results in eating out. But that does not mean you have to throw healthy eating to the wind! Thankfully, it has become trendy for restaurants to have a ‘healthy’ menus. But this does not mean you can only eat healthy things when you eat out. You should indulge! If you know you are going to eat out for a meal, eat lighter and healthier for your other meals to balance out your indulgence.

One way to avoid frequent eating out weight gain is to know how to read your menu. Words like fried, breaded, buttered, smothered and crispy are weighed heavily with calories. (Pun intended.) For a healthier alternative, choose entrees with descriptors like grilled, baked or steamed.

Order extras on the side. Want to instantly drop your calorie intake? Order your dressing for your salad, or gravy for your potatoes on the side. This way you will can dictate how much sides you use, instead of the standard restaurant portion.

With these simple tips, you can enjoy eating out without feeling the guilt that often accompanies over eating.