The typical American lifestyle makes it hard to maintain a healthy diet while eating out. According to an recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the National Restaurant Association states Americans eat out at least four-five times a week. This is not just a matter of laziness or lack of discipline. With most households having two breadwinners, it often becomes not only a necessity, but a survival tactic! So, the question becomes: How does one diet while eating at restaurants? The key is to pay attention to how your plate is divided. It should be three quarters filled with plant-based foods (fruits and vegetables)–the more color, the better; the darker green your salad, the healthier your meal. This is the exact opposite of a typical restaurant meal, in which one would be served a slab of meat the size of Yankee stadium, with a few veggies squeezed in along the rim of the plate.
According to nutrition instructor, Connie Gutterson, author of the Sonoma Diet, a healthy plate would have only about four ounces of meat. In other words: Think of your meat as a side dish. This all calls for some creative ordering. For instance, you might try splitting an order. Also, be aware that most dieters think a salad is low calorie, but that’s not necessarily true. If you check, you’ll find that salads often contain higher caloric values than the main dish. Blame that mostly on the dressing. Here too, you need to get creative. Try lemon and herbs on your salad or a little olive oil combined with vinegar. And one final word on healthy eating out: Think 1) seasonal, 2) local, and 3) organic. It can be done –– and without sacrificing good flavor or a good time.
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