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Eat Better when Dining Out

Sometimes it is all you can do is stop at a fast food place just to grab a bite to eat in between commitments. After all you may not have time to get home and prepare a meal yourself and your little ones.

People are so busy these days and it can be nearly impossible to prepare a good meal at home. Especially parents, where a typical Saturday afternoon can be soccer practice at 11:00 and then karate lessons at 1:15 P.M.

Sometimes it is all you can do is stop at a fast food place just to grab a bite to eat in between commitments. After all you may not have time to get home and prepare a meal yourself and your little ones.

For optimal health it is indeed better to avoid these places altogether but there are simple adjustments that you can make to make the best of a bad situation.

1) Substitute:

Most fast food chains cater to children so there is some type of kids' meal. A lot of these places are now offering substitute for certain side items and drinks. For example, at Chick-Fil-A you can opt for a milk and fruit instead of the traditional fries and soda. This would decrease your child's calorie intake by over 400 calories. Other fast food restaurants do substitutions similar to this I just used Chick-Fil-A as an example.

2) Skip the bread:

If you're at a restaurant where they give you free bread ask your server not to bring it. Bread is full of calories and fat as it is often slathered with butter. Too often people get full on bread before they even receive their meals.

3) On the side:

If you go to a restaurant such as a Chinese restaurant get your sauce on the side. For example sweet and sour chicken is covered with sweet and sour sauce but it only takes a minimal amount just to get the taste. In my humble opinion too much sauce on anything really takes away from the dish itself. You can also ask your waiter or waitress to put your salad dressing on the side of your side salad.

4) Don't supersize:

A lot of people supersize because it makes sense economically. I'll have to agree it does because on average you will get about 40% more food and drink at roughly 7% of the cost. But you also get more calories and fat. Plus the regular meals are already way more food than your body needs at one time anyway.

5) Take your time:

You know it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send the signals to your brain saying, "I'm full! You can stop now."?

This means if you get that full feeling in your stomach and you are still eating it is too late because you have already overeaten. It's not hard to adjust. There are little tricks you can start implementing today such as chewing your food thoroughly, enjoying conversation with others, and putting your fork down between bites. This will slow down how fast you eat and you will also enjoy your food that much more.

6) Pick Your Poison:

It is better to eat at home but if you absolutely must eat out you should be a little more picky about what you eat. For instance if you decide to indulge in one thing you can cut out something else in the meal. if you have fries make it a rule to not have the hot fudge sundae for dessert.

7) Awareness:

Ask for a nutrition guide at the restaurant you're at. Most of them now have them by the front door or the counter. Look at everything that comes along with what you are about to consume. You'll be surprised and at times a little disgusted. Chances are it will not seem worth it to you.

Mike T Smith has been actively pursuing better health for over 15 years. He has been sought after by others because of his knowledge in attaining and maintaining optimal health. For free tips on how to attain a healthier lifestyle or to reach Mike personally visit his blog at

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