By: Julia Diaz
It happens, and it has happened to the best of us - waking up later than planned, and to find the B.A.R.T. parking lot if full, and you’ve got a midterm that day! Once you find parking and get on a train you quickly realize, "I forgot my lunch” - a classic example of not being prepared for lunch to pull you through your day. So, what are your best options?
Some American’s don't have enough time in their day to prepare homemade take-out lunches or snacks. Others don't know how to cook and are accustomed to eating out. People are always looking for quick, easy and good-tasting foods to fit their hectic schedule. Whether it’s grab and go, food court, office cafeteria or a restaurant, there are smart choices everywhere.
Here are some tips to help eat healthy when eating out:
1. Take time to look over the menu and be choosy; know your options. Look for restaurants or carry-out that offer a wide range of menu items. Some restaurant menus may have a special section for “healthier” choices. Consider what meal options are available.
2. Scan the menus, but carefully, looking for clues containing fat and calorie content. Healthy selections include key words like:
Baked, braised, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted, and steamed.
Foods high in calories and fat include:
Batter-fried, pan-fried, buttered, creamed, crispy, and breaded.
3. Deli-wise, choose lean beef, ham, turkey or chicken on whole grain bread. Ask for mustard, ketchup, salsa or low fat spreads. And, don’t forget the veggies.
4. Eating on the go? Tuck portable, nonperishable foods in your purse, tote, briefcase or backpack for an on-the-run meal. Some suggestions are peanut butter and crackers, granola bars, a piece of fresh fruit, trail mix, single serve packages of whole grain cereal or crackers.
5. Be size-wise about muffins, bagels, croissants and biscuits. A jumbo muffin has more than twice the fat and calories of the regular size.
6. Opt-in for ethnic foods such as Chinese stir-fry, vegetable-stuffed pita or Mexican fajitas.
7. Try a smoothie made with juice, fruit and yogurt for a light lunch or snack – and remember to be size-wise.
8. At the salad bar, pile on the dark leafy greens, carrots, peppers and other fresh vegetables. Lighten up on mayonnaise-based salads and high-calorie dressings
9. Grabbing dinner at the supermarket deli? Select rotisserie chicken, salad-in-a-bag and freshly baked bread. Or, try sliced lean roast beef, onion rolls, potato salad and fresh fruit.
10. Order the regular or child-size portion. Mega-sized servings are probably more than you need. For a lighter meal, order an appetizer in place of a main course.
Sticking with simple changes always has the potential in making a big difference.