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Tips to eat healthy away from home
Tips to eat healthy away from home

SHA Magazine Healthy nutrition

Tips to eat healthy away from home

SHA Wellness Clinic
June 6, 2013

Whether for work or travel and events, today we usually eat out of home quite often, and many times we find it difficult to maintain a healthy diet. Therefore, we share some general guidelines to eat out without gaining weight and great recommendations of healthy dishes depending on the type of restaurant you go.

Eat out of home in a healthy way

First, it is important to be aware of what foods we should eat to stay healthy and what not, and thus prevent succumbing to the full range they offer and limit a bit in our healthy diet. Eating out without getting fat is not so difficult: in most restaurants, especially in Mediterranean food restaurants, you can get some type of vegetable soup, a salad, a steamed vegetable plate, some broiled fish, a bean dish, or its seasonal dishes. However, we will share some tips for what to ask according to the type of restaurant.

  • What to order at an Italian restaurant?

Choices here can focus on salads and pasta dishes (whole grain and without egg, whenever possible) with vegetables such as cooked onions, mushrooms (preferably shiitake), and broccoli.

  • What to order at a Chinese restaurant?

The healthier dishes at a Chinese restaurant are: Moo Shu steamed vegetables, rice noodles with vegetables and, sometimes, spring rolls. You can read the message, but you better not eat the fortune cookie.

  • What to order at a Japanese restaurant?

Sushi is a healthy dish and often they give you the option of chosing the ingredients. If you do not like raw fish, in many Japanese restaurants they roast some fish to make sushi with cucumber, sesame seeds, nori, etc. or you can even ask vegetarian sushi. In traditional Japanese restaurants you can order soba noodles with vegetables and some wakame (a seaweed with a flavor similar to spinach) and chives mixed. And don’t miss your miso soup. If you order tempura, ask for some raw daikon (white radish), as it helps to better digest the oil. Soy sauce can also aid in the digestion of fats.

  • What to order at a Mexican restaurant?

For Mexican restaurants what we recommend is to make sure first that the oil they use is of good quality. We also suggest ordering corn tortillas instead of white flour and use guacamole in place of sour cream. You can order beans and rice with vegetables without problem. Moreover, in many places you can order a custom Mexican burrito and fill it with the ingredients you prefer.

  • What to order at an Indian restaurant?

A popular healthy choice dish in Indian restaurants is vegetable Biryani (stir-fried vegetables with rice, nuts and small pieces of fruit). You can also order a cauliflower-potato dish (Aloo Gobi), or some chickpea stew (Channa Masala), or a side of cooked lentils (Dahl).

  • What to order at an Arabic restaurant?

Tabouli (cut wheat grits, olive oil and parsley), Lentil soups, Hummus (chickpeas and tahini) or any mixed vegetable dish if it is not cook with too much oil are some of the healthy dishes that can be found in an Arabic restaurant. You can also enjoy traditional dishes such as couscous or lentils with bulgur (Mjadra).

  • What to order at a Thai restaurant?

If you go to a Thai restaurant you can order a thin rice noodle dish (Pad Thai) and ask to have it prepared with vegetables and tofu instead of meat, and stress the fact you don’t want sugar on it. If the broth is vegetarian based, you can order an entrée-sided bowl of Tom Yum Vegetable soup with, or without, noodles. Another typical and pretty healthy dish is vegetable curry.

  • What to order at a Ethiopian restaurant?

If there’s an Ethiopian restaurant in your town, you’re in for a treat. A healthy meal of grain, vegetable and greens is tastefully available and attractively prepared. The Injera bread is a spongy bread made from their traditional grain Teff, and you can also order a Buticha (chickpea salad) or a Kik Alitcha (a vegetarian combination platter with yellow split peas).

We must be aware that when we go somewhere we are the customers, so we should not be shy to ask us to personalize our food according to our tastes and needs, as long as we ask it properly, with diplomacy and a smile. However, it is always good to have on hand some toasted seeds or spices to enhance the nutritional value of our meals as well as some of our favorite tea bags that will help us with digestion.

If it’s a buffet, sure we can get something that fits more to our diet. And if it is a closed menu event, let’s try to find out in advance if there are any healthy choice and, if not, try to eat something before so there we can eat only what suits more our healthy diet. Obviously, we can make exceptions from time to time and ask what we want but always because of our choice, without feeling obliged by circumstances.

What do you think of these tips to eat out without gaining weight?

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