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Healthy "Eating Out"
Photo: Jane Cleary
Eating out can be a nice change of pace, especially during the holidays when family and friends get together. No cooking and no clean-up! But don’t get too used to it because if you’re wanting to eat healthy, restaurants can be a nightmare.

Take soup and sandwich places, for example. When the weather turns colder we like having hot soups. But watch out for the sky-high sodium content of restaurant soups. And cream soups like potato and cheese sometimes have more fat than if you just ate potato chips.

The sandwiches start out o.k. You might even be lucky enough to get whole grain bread. But the sauces and oils restaurants pile on, combined with the meats and cheeses, spell big trouble in the “bad fat” category. And restaurants aren’t in the habit of posting signs advertising the number of calories in their patrons’ favorite dishes!

Tempting Buffets!

Buffet places can be good and bad. They’re good because they offer lots of choices, usually including vegetables and fruits. But they’re bad if you have a hard time choosing and want to taste everything. Taking large portions and going back for thirds and fourths are also temptations at buffets.

Selecting fresh, high-fiber foods are always your safest choice when eating out. Learn to think of a wonderful, fresh garden salad as your main course. Ask for your dressing on the side and use only about half the amount restaurants normally bring you.

Many restaurants promote overeating by serving large portions and having all-you-can-eat buffets. Overeating not only adds weight long term (which makes you feel tired) it also makes you tired NOW because of all the energy required for digesting more food than you need.

My friend, Betty, is such an inspiration. At age 94 she’s still watching her waistline. What’s the point when you’re that old? She surely isn’t being vain about her looks! She just wants to be healthy and have the energy to enjoy life. No matter what your age, you can always benefit from making healthful choices.

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By Brenda Dickerson. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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