When eating out for dinner I’ve always had the philosophy that you should order what you really want and share it with a friend. If you simply love french fries and rarely eat them, you can absolutely treat yourself with an order now and again. With a flexible philosophy you’ll be more likely to order small and share with a friend rather than deprive yourself until the breaking point and devour a large order yourself. As the catch phrase goes “all foods can fit”, it’s up to you to be sensible about the portion and frequency.
So you are scanning the menu at your favorite restaurant. You have to choose between the virtuous garden salad with vinaigrette on the side or the decadent Caesar salad with bacon and parmesan cheese. There are a few lines of reasoning you can use. If you only eat out at restaurants once or twice per month then feel free to order the Caesar salad even though it is much higher in saturated fats and calories. You can lessen the shock to your arteries by sharing with a friend or perhaps ordering a lower fat main course. If however you eat at restaurants several times per week, then opt for leaner choices most of the time such as a garden salad with dressing on the side and main courses such as grilled chicken or fish. Try saving the high fat favorites for special occasions. There is obviously more to healthy dining than simply choosing the right salad. Restaurant appetizers and main courses can be loaded with hidden fat and calories.
Many items are deep fried, portion sizes are often huge and you simply can’t tell how much fat has been added to sauces, spreads and side dishes. Once while at a steakhouse I ordered a chicken stirfry only to discover they deep fried the chicken before adding it to the vegetables and smothered everything with a thick, oily teriyaki sauce. I guess that’s what I get for ordering a stirfry at a steak house! My point is that even with the best intentions you are always at the mercy of the chef. To make it a little easier on health conscious consumers, the Ontario Ministry of Health (in partnership with many other groups) developed a Healthy Restaurant Program. The program entitled “Eat Smart” identifies restaurants all across Ontario that offer healthier menu choices.
If you log on to their website www.eatsmart.web.net you can enter any city in Ontario and find a list of “Eat Smart” restaurants. These restaurants have been recognized for offering more options in whole grains, vegetables and fruit and lower fat entrees and desserts.
Customers can also ask for healthy substitutions such as salad instead of fries or milk or 100% fruit juice with a child's meal. It is a real asset for those who are forced to eat out frequently as part of their job or while traveling. Don’t worry, even the “Eat Smart” restaurants will still offer many popular high fat options for your occasional indulgence. Remember the key to making “all foods fit” is to carefully choose your portion size and frequency of eating. Sharing is a great way to reduce portion size or equally as effective, you can take half home to enjoy the next day.