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May 18, 2020

Monthly Bites #4 - May 2020

Dining Out the Mindful Way

Every Thursday when I was a little girl (around the ages 5 to 7), my Mom would come home from working a full 8-hour day, pick me up, and take me to my 7:00pm dance class. Very little-to-no time was available on those days for her to prepare a home-cooked nutritious meal, so that meant a quick trip to - you guessed it - McDonald’s! Tasty, convenient, and cheap— exactly what we needed for those jam-packed Thursday evenings. What more could you ask from those 10-piece McNuggets, medium fries, and soft drink? It was the pre-dancing fuel fit for a tap-dancing toddler!Fast forward a couple of decades later, and times have certainly changed. Ordering take-out, food delivery services, and curb-side pick-up meals are at the peak of their popularity thanks to these trying times. Some folks may be cooking more at home but many others are taking advantage of supporting our local restaurants for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Are these services helpful and comforting? Absolutely! It is a win-win as far as I’m concerned. We can’t see our friends, family, or anyone else we love within 6 feet, so we might as well enjoy a delicious meal prepared by our favorite local chefs and caterers who appreciate our business more than we can imagine! But, are these meals always the most nutritious and supportive of our goals to maintain our health, strength and overall well-being? Not always...(sorry, McDonald’s). But that does not mean they can’t be! All you have to do is pay just a smidge-closer attention to the description of the menu items, consider alternative side/condimentoptions, and as always keep it PC- portion controlled!According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, here is a “Top 7” list of how to make sure you are making the healthiest choices when ordering take-out:

  1. Be mindful of terms including “crunchy,” “crispy,” “battered” and “breaded,” as well as “creamy,” “cheesy” and “Alfredo,” which often means they’re higher in fat or calories. Limit items that are fried or served in sauces that are high in saturated fat. Items that may be more healthful options might use terms like “baked,” “grilled,” “roasted,” and “steamed,” as well we “al fresco” or “marinara.”
  2. Consider steamed vegetables or fruit as a side option, when available vs. French fries.
  3. Rethink your drink. Calories from sugar-sweetened beverages can add up quickly and provide little nutritional value. Choose options like water, low-fat or fat-free milk or drinks such as unsweetened coffee or tea
  4. Sauces and dressings usually come on the side when ordered to-go but ask for sauces and dressing on the side to be sure and help control how much actually goes on your food.
  5. Instead of eating out of the containers, plate your food for a more appropriate portion size when servings are large. It enhances the dining experience and also helps if you want to save part of your meal for later.
  6. If the restaurant you are ordering from has a Kids Menu, consider this an adult option! The portions are smaller and sides typically include more low-fat options including fresh fruit, but cottage cheese, side-salads or applesauce.
  7. Incorporate ALL food groups— even when you are dining out, remember that making half of your plate fruits and vegetables, a quarter of your plate grains, and a quarter of your plate lean protein is always the goal. Add in a serving of fat-free or low-fat dairy and you’re good to go!

To your health and wellness,DanaSource:

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