Healthy eating on the run

It is important to make healthy choices for meals and snacks, especially when managing a busy lifestyle.

Looking for fast, easy and good-tasting foods to fit a busy lifestyle? Whether it’s carry-out, food court, cafeteria or sit-down restaurant, there are smart choices everywhere. Michigan State University Extension offers these tips to help you eat healthy when eating out:

  • Take time to look over the menu and make careful selections. Some restaurant menus may have a special section for “healthier” choices.
  • Read restaurant menus carefully for clues to fat and calorie content. Menu terms that can mean less fat and calories: Baked, braised, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted, streamed.
  • Menu terms that can mean more fat and calories: Batter-fried, pan-fried, buttered, creamed, crispy and breaded. Choose these foods only occasionally and in small portions.
  • Order the regular or child-size portion. Mega-sized servings are probably more than you need. For a lighter meal, order an appetizer in place of a main course.
  • Hunger can drive you to eat too much bread before your meal arrives. Hold the bread or chips until your meal is served. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Think about your food choices for the entire day. If you’re planning a special restaurant meal in the evening, have a light breakfast and lunch.
  • Tempted by sweet, creamy desserts? Order one dessert with enough forks for everyone at the table to have a bite.
  • A baked potato offers more fiber, fewer calories and less fat than fries if you skip the sour cream and butter. Top your potato with salsa for a low fat option.
  • In place of fries or chips, choose a side-salad, fruit such as an apple or a baked potato. Or, share a regular order of fries with a friend.
  • Be size-wise about muffins, bagels, croissants and biscuits. A jumbo muffin has more than twice the fat and calories of the regular size.
  • Try a smoothie made with juice, fruit and yogurt for a light lunch or snack.

Eating healthy does not need to be challenging, and following these simple tips can help you head in the right direction.

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