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Eating Healthy when Eating Out

By Heather Maloney
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center correspondent

For many of us, summer not only means warm weather and beach vacations, but a vacation from healthy eating habits. Picnics, outdoor barbecues, long car trips and the ballpark concession stand often mean that eating three balanced meals a day goes away with our winter clothes.

Sandra Allonen, a registered dietitian at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, offers some tips on how to eat healthy from now until Labor Day:

At picnics and barbecues:

  • Avoid macaroni and potato salads; opt for vegetables and fruit salads instead.
  • Bring a healthy dish to the gathering to ensure that you will have at least one nutritious option.
  • If you have to have soda, make sure it's diet soda.
  • At the grill, choose a veggie burger or grilled chicken instead of a hot dog or hamburger.

At fast food restaurants:

  • Pick a grilled chicken sandwich or a salad with grilled (not crispy) chicken and light salad dressing.
  • Choose a fruit cup or side salad with light salad dressing instead of the French fries.
  • Instead of soda, get water or low-fat milk.
  • If a restaurant's only option is a burger and fries, order the smallest size available.
  • A baked potato is a good idea only if you don't load it up with butter and bacon bits; otherwise, have a salad.
  • Look for low-calorie dessert options, like low-fat vanilla ice cream or fruit and yogurt parfaits.

At the concession stand:

  • Opt for grilled chicken instead of fried foods, if possible. If you have to have something fried, get the smallest portion available.
  • Get baked potato chips instead of regular chips.
  • For a sweet treat, have low-fat soft-serve ice cream instead of cookies or a candy bar.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted June 2013

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