Eat Healthy on the Town

At one time, having dinner on the town was a rare treat. Every few weeks, the entire family would jump in the car and drive to the local restaurant to "give mom a break". Times have changed. These days, restaurant food is an everyday fact of life for many busy people. We stop for burgers or salads at lunch time, and visit the drive-thru on the way home. Our non-stop lifestyles demand the instant meal gratification that only restaurants can deliver.

There's no doubt that fast food can be a real boon to our busy schedules. Still, we need to wonder if all of this convenience is taking a toll on our health. Is it possible to eat restaurant food, and stay on a healthy course?

Go for the Greens

You can't deny that greens and other fresh vegetables are a great diet choice. But, did you know that you may not necessarily be doing your body a favor when you order that salad for lunch or dinner? If you have rich dressing on your salad, you're taking a real calorie wallop. Choose low-fat dressing, or take the dressing on the side. Then, use as little as necessary. This same rule works for other sauces too, so try it next time you order your fries with gravy.

Grill Up Some Goodness

Fried foods are laden with nasty fats, so why settle for fried foods when you can have your meats and veggies grilled, baked, broiled, poached or steamed. These cooking methods use little or no fat, and are much lower in calories. When foods are grilled, the natural flavors are greatly enhanced, and there is little need for rich butters, gravies and sauces. You can whittle away even more fats and calories by having the chef grill your foods without additional oil or butter. The food will be delicious and only your hips will know the difference.

Healthy Pastabilities

Think you can't incorporate your love of pasta with your healthy diet? Think again. You can eat pasta, so long as you stay away from those rich, cream-based sauces. Try a zesty fresh tomato-based sauce, instead of a rich alfredo sauce that will wreak havoc on your waistline. Tomato sauces are light, low-fat ways to bring your pastas to life, and will add a vegetable count to your food wheel. Add a sprinkling of cheese and spices for a truly delicious meal.

Drink To Your Health

Alcoholic beverages are not your best choice as meal accompaniments. Instead, order a glass of water, milk or juice, or a cup of tea. Soft drinks are also bad choices. Your value meal may come with a cup of pop, but you aren't obligated to accept it. Ask for an alternative beverage, and be willing to pay the extra quarter for a glass of milk. Your bones will thank you for it.

Start Smart

A little meal before your meal can be a great idea. Soups are sensational appetizers, as most are low in calories and take the edge off of your hunger before the main course arrives. Watch out for cream soups and chowders that are loaded with fat and calories. You can even eat two appetizers, a soup and salad perhaps, instead of one large main-course meal. You'll eat less and save money.

Sensible Sides

If you are offered a choice of side dishes, choose fresh vegetables or a baked potato instead of french fries. Baked potatoes are great side orders, provided they're not weighed down with butter, bacon, cheese, or sour cream. Ask for a side order of salsa to give your spud a healthy kick of flavor.

Fiber First

Fiber is so important to your healthy diet, so be sure to include servings of fruits and vegetables every day. These are essential sources of natural fiber that your body just can't do without. Ask your server for brown rice, whole grain bread and whole wheat pasta. Break all the bread you want, but hold the butter.

Know When to Say No

Stop eating when you feel full. Sound a little too obvious? Not for those people who insist on getting "their money's worth" from their restaurant meals. Heed your belly, and know when you've had enough. Go ahead and ask for a doggy bag. Half of tonight's pasta will make a fantastic lunch tomorrow.

Share the Sweetness

What's better than a devastatingly delicious dessert? Half of one! Go ahead and give in to your dessert craving, and then give half of it to your companion. That caramel pecan cheesecake will be every bit as delicious when you share it with a friend, and you'll only be getting half the calories. If sweet and sensible is more your style, order a fruit salad, yogurt, or sorbet for dessert.

You should make healthy choices when you're on the run, but it's also OK to treat yourself now and then. If you're celebrating a special event and you want melted butter with your lobster, go right ahead. All types of foods can find a place in a well-balanced diet. Don't deprive yourself of the foods you really love. Your time is precious, after all, so enjoy every minute of it.

Skin Body Care

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