Healthy eating for busy lifestyles

Five easy tips to stay healthy on the go!

A healthy lifestyle and a busy lifestyle can co-exist.

A healthy lifestyle and a busy lifestyle can co-exist.

Like most Americans, you probably eat out – a lot. In our fast-paced society, people are looking for fast, easy and good-tasting foods to fit a busy lifestyle. Whether it’s carry-out, food court, office cafeteria or a sit-down restaurant, there are smart choices everywhere. Here are five tips from Michigan State University Extension health and nutrition experts to help you stay healthy when eating out:

1. Think ahead and plan where you will eat. Consider what meal options are available. Look for restaurants or carry-out with a wide range of menu items.

2. Take time to look over the menu and make careful selections. Some restaurant menus may have a special section for “healthier” choices. It’s common to see even fast food restaurants have healthy options.

3. Read restaurant menus carefully for clues to fat and calorie content. Most restaurants have begun placing calorie counts on the menu.

  • Menu terms that may mean less fat and calories include baked, braised, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted and steamed.
  • Menu terms that can mean increased fat and calories: Batter-fried, pan-fried, buttered, creamed, crispy and breaded. Choose these foods only occasionally and in small portions.

4. Order the regular or child-size portion. Mega-sized servings are probably more than you need to stay within your daily calorie needs. For a lighter meal, order an appetizer in place of a main course.

5. Ask for a doggie bag! It’s ok to take home the food that you don’t finish so you can eat it later, which can save you time and money. Just remember to follow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for safe food storage. Read MSU Extension’s article, Food safety tips for storing and using leftover food.

MSU Extension offers educational programs for adults and children that focus on lifestyle changes to promote healthy eating and nutrition. For more health and nutrition tips or a plan that works for you, contact your local MSU Extension.

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