Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tips on Eating Out

I hope that you had an excellent new year celebration and that you are ready for a great new year. I know that I am!

While I discourage New Year’s Resolutions, I still indirectly get asked for advice on how to make them stick. For example, a person I met said their New Year's resolution was to start eating better at work. She vowed to no longer visiting the doughnut box in the break room or pig out at any of the company birthday parties. Yet she still needed to entertain clients and liked eating out with coworkers every now and again. Did I know what she could do to eat healthy at restaurants?

My advice was to try eating a few walnuts (about 6-8) or a small fistful of almonds (about 12-15) before leaving for the restaurant. The idea is to not arrive in starvation mode. In fact, eating a little healthy fat before a meal will trigger a chain reaction that will slow the rate at which your stomach empties.

The end result is a satiated feeling, but unfortunately it takes the brain up to 30 minutes to register that sensation. That's why I suggest starting with this tiny snack before heading out.

Once there, drink a full glass of water upon arriving. This, and eating the nuts, helps fill you up faster so that you are able to make healthier choices and don't over eat.
Also, instead of bread or fried chips and salsa, ask for some cut up veggies. Veggies are nutrient dense and that means you get more benefit out of the calories you actually do consume.

Speaking of veggies, I'm shocked by the lunchtime misconception that salads are a low fat meal. While they can be, the truth is often quite the contrary. Relying on the kitchen to prepare and dress your salad can result in as many as 500 calories added to your meal. Restaurants are notorious for overuse of dressing. Instead, order oil and vinegar on the side and go a little heavier on the vinegar. I
season my salad with a few squeezes of lemon and pepper.

Finally: desert time. If you must indulge, get in the mind set of sharing! In fact the more people sharing that desert guarantees you will consume fewer calories. However, my favorite way of ending a meal is savoring a fine glass of red wine.
There are numerous studies suggesting the benefits of red wine but remember to limit your wine consumption to no more than 5 ounces (if you are a woman) and 10 ounces (if you are a man). Research suggests that over consumption of alcohol results in a diminishing rate of return on its health benefits.

So, these are my recommendations but they are the recommendations I would suggest regardless of the time of year. Focusing on making better food choices is something that should be made everyday, without a “Resolution.”

As always - Enjoy Your Life,

John Aaron Villarreal

The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose,
cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician
prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

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