You don’t have to drop your healthy habits when eating away from home. Many restaurants, workplaces and school cafeterias now offer better-for-you options and menus. But it may still take a little bit of effort and a splash of willpower to construct a healthy meal away from home. Here are some tips to help.
• Do some research. Look up menus and nutrition info online to find healthier options. Ask servers or managers about ingredients, preparation methods and substitutions.
• Look for clues. The menu may have “healthy” designations or symbols, or key words in item names (like light, fresh, fit, vegetarian), which indicate they could be a better choice.
• Add color. Look for fruits and vegetables on the menu that you can add as sides or substitutes in your meal.
• Avoid the fryer. Deep-fried foods tend to be less healthy than other options, like grilled, roasted, steamed and baked.
• Keep it on the side. Request that butter, cheese, toppings, salad dressings, sauces and gravies be served on the side so you control how much you eat.
• Stick with water. Stay away from sugary soft drinks, sweet tea and cocktails. They’re loaded with added sugars and extra calories you don’t need.
• Split it. If the portions are large, share something or set aside half to take home before you start eating. Turn one oversized portion into two meals.
• Bring it from home. Pack your own healthy meals and snacks so you can resist the temptations on the cafeteria line or in the vending machine.
Find recipes, cooking tips and more at heart.org/HealthyforGood.