Digest these thoughts as dining column ‘skips a meal’
By Samantha Taylor
Pure Health Studios
As many of you already know, I have been touring local restaurants to review their meals and recommend to you what to eat and I will be continuing to do this to help you in your efforts to manage your weight.
Before I move on to the next restaurant, I want to tell you important things about the reality of eating out and its impact on weight gain. The challenge is that most restaurants are interested in packing the most flavor into their dishes, not in regulating the fat and calorie content. That is a big deal to us who actually care about our health and our weight (losing and not gaining) and care about avoiding heart disease and diabetes.
I have been trying to focus on restaurants that let you modify their servings and are more health conscious than the average place. However, as you have read from my past columns, you have to be very specific with how you order your food so that you can make the necessary adjustments to try and reduce the hidden fats and calories.
What I learned from 10 years of waiting tables is that an average person could consume as much as 3,000 calories per meal. What? This may come as a shock to you, but the calories add up once you have the bread, butter, meal, drinks and even the seemingly harmless salad.
A salad may appear healthful, but there can be a ton of hidden fat in its buttery croutons, cheese and rich dressing. You have yet to devour the main meal and, possibly, the dessert. Wait – that can actually be closer to 4,000 calories! An average meal at a restaurant, like a dinner entrée, usually has around 1,500 to 2,000 calories.
So the point I want to reiterate to you is this: if you are going to eat out, you have to be really clear about what you are ordering, how to have it prepared and control your portion sizes. If you pay enough attention to those three specifics, you can eat out more frequently without sacrificing your healthy weight.
I have to be honest, though. I think one reason our country is so overweight is that most people who eat out have no idea how many calories are contained in what they order and do not practice portion control.
I used to be a binger and a compulsive eater that I, too, could easily consume 4,000 calories in one sitting. I know it’s not easy to sit in front of a huge plate of hot, delicious food and stop yourself from eating too much when “it just tastes sooo good.”
This is why if you are not able to control yourself and practice discipline, eating out regularly may not be the best idea for you. You should make eating out an occasional treat, not a daily or an every other day event.
In my future columns, I will continue to give you the best options for eating out in your neighborhood, but just so you know, eating in most restaurants is a lot like writing a blank check and blindly giving it to someone you do not know.
They could write the check for whatever amount they want, and you won’t have the vaguest idea. Don’t go giving out blank checks by being a wise, proactive restaurant food consumer.
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