When eating out fast food restaurants to mind; they often come under fire and are blamed for poor nutrition. If you are an uninformed consumer this will be true: fast food places can offer the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s up to you to make the adequate nutritional choices as opposed to picking the quick non-nutritional fix (Ref. 7, p. 254-257).
Let’s take the common scenario of lunch, and you are entering a hamburger place.
Eating out: LUNCH
1. Choose the grilled chicken item. Do not order the chicken burger, hamburger or chicken nuggets.
2. Order your grilled chicken without mayonaise and eat only half the bun.
3. Order a side salad and ask for dressing on the side, not poured over it.
4. Have a piece of fruit for dessert (bring an apple or buy one at the corner store.)
This type of selection fulfills the criteria of:
- having a protein food (about the size of the palm of your hand)
- having carbohydrate food (a bit of the bun and a salad, as well as the fruit)
- having a moderate amount of fat intake.
Dinner is frequently eaten in restaurants.
Eating out: DINNER
1. Study the menu and pick a choice of protein food that is lean. Look for non-breaded fish or meat, or choose tofu, if you are in an asian restaurant.
2. Order a salad. Skip the croutons and order the low fat dressing on the side.
3. At the time of your order request an extra side vegetable instead of the pasta, rice or potatoes.
4. Forget the garlic bread or the dinner buns with butter.
5. Once your meal arrives, eat only the meat portion you need(remember the palm of your hand measure.)Ask for a doggie bag for the surplus. You will enjoy it the day after.
6. Skip dessert, unless it is a piece of fruit.
Even though you are likely eating breakfast at home, things will be different, when you are travelling.
Eating out: BREAKFAST on the go
1. Forgo the pancakes with syrup or the hash browns.
2. If there is a breakfast bar, have a small helping of oatmeal, eat a portion of scrambled egg and enjoy same fruit. It may be a little higher in fat than your usual breakfast.
3. Some restaurants will offer “heart smart” choices like an omelette made with either egg substitute or more egg whites than egg yolk. This would be a good choice along with some fruit.
4. Drink tea or coffee with no sugar, or add sugar substitutes likestevia (comes in powder form or as prepackaged mini paper bags). Some cream is O.K.
5. Remember: No bread, no toast, no ordinary cereal flakes as this would within 1/2 hour be pure sugar in your system starting the hyperinsulism cycle promoting the metabolic syndrome.
If you are on the run, and it is getting late, it is better to have a snack as a touch-up. An apple and fruit (e.g. mandarin orange), a piece of mozzarella cheese (string cheese is also handy), and 4 almonds will tide you over till the next larger meal. Another option is to carry a nutrition bar in your pocket. Look for a product with a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Some power bars do not offer you balanced ingredients: either they are too high in carbohydrates or they over emphasize the amount of protein. One product is the Zone Perfect Food Bar (made by Zone Perfect Nutrition. according to Dr. Barry Sears’ directions) Another option are the Balance Bar.
Weight loss and loss of sugar cravings
For many people a big part of the accumulation of weight is due to a craving for sugar. However, when you leave sugar out of your diet and leave out starches as well, within only 3 to 7 days you get used to your complex carbohydrate/low fat diet. Refined sugar and overwhelming starchy food intake have been part of the Western diet only for a bit more than 100 years. It is high time that this is being reversed thus stopping the trend towards obesity and diabetes. It is because of this that heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure had become the number one killer. With a combined change of our eating habits we can change this trend. A note of caution: Splenda (sucralose) was developed originally as an insecticide. We do not want to replace disease-promoting sugar with toxins as sweeteners. Safe alternatives for sugar are xylitol, mannitol, and stevia.
1. B. Sears: “The age-free zone”.Regan Books, Harper Collins, 2000. Also see Dr. Sears’ site.
2. B. Sears: “Zone perfect meals in minutes”. Regan Books, Harper Also see Dr. Sears’ site.
3. B.J. Wilcox, D.C. Willcox and M. Suzuki: “The Okinawa Program.” Clarkson Potter,2001, N.Y., U.S.A.
4. E.L. Rossi: The psychobiology of mind-body healing. Norton &Co., 1986, N.Y., U.S.A.
5. Vitamins and Foods. Audio-Digest Family Practice Vol 49, Issue 29, Aug.7, 2001.
6. P.C. McGraw: Life strategies. 1999, Simon&Schuster Source, N.Y., U.S.A.
7. B. Sears: “The top 100 zone foods”. Regan Books, Harper Collins, 2001. Also see Dr. Sears’ site.
8. Suzanne Somers: “Breakthrough” Eight Steps to Wellness– Life-altering Secrets from Today’s Cutting-edge Doctors”, Crown Publishers, 2008