1. Know the Facts: Plan ahead! Look at restaurant’s online nutrition facts and make a selection before you go to the restaurant. This way you won’t feel rushed at the restaurant or temped to get the 30oz steak a waiter just walked past your table. Prepare for long car trips and bring snacks to keep you and your family satisfied. Choose fruits, vegetables, low-fat string cheese, unsalted nuts, and granola bars.
2. Portion Distortion: Restaurants typically provide far more food than your body needs for one meal. Put half your meal in a box right away, split a meal with someone, or select a smaller, kid-sized portion.
3. Think your Drink: With huge cups and free refills, it is easy to drink extra calories without even thinking about it. Stick to water, unsweetened iced tea, or low-fat milk. Add lemon or lime for extra flavor! Avoid diet drinks, because they can increase hunger and cravings, making you eat more.
4. Pick your Indulgence: Only choose one indulgence, whether that is fries, dessert, or a cocktail. Pick only one guilty pleasure so you don’t go overboard with calories, fat, or sodium.
5. Little Changes Make a Big Difference: Only a small amount of additional calories every day can cause weight gain! Fortunately, little positive changes can really add up for your benefit! Start your meal with a veggie packed salad; Skip the croutons and cheese. Ask for dressing, sauces, butter, gravy, and condiments on the side. Choose whole-wheat bread or pasta. Try fruit and low-fat yogurt for dessert. Ask for steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes. Opt for low-sodium options. When ordering Chinese food, ask for brown rice, extra veggies, and sauces on the side. Top pizza with vegetables.
By: Cierra Neiswender, Penn State Dietetic Intern