We’ve all had those days. A full schedule at work with meetings through lunch or right up until time to leave your office. There was no time to run your errands during lunch, so you need to make a few stops on the way home. Or perhaps one of the kids has practice and you need to hurry home to pick them up and deliver them to the gym. You were rushed trying to get out of the house this morning so you didn’t pull anything out of the freezer to defrost. Where will you get dinner?
I get it. Your time is limited, yet the family is still hungry, so what restaurant will be feeding you tonight?
May I suggest that you choose one that has real vegetables on the menu – something other than French fries and a smattering of lettuce decorating a patty?
Once you are seated with the menu, there are lots of different options, and possibly some enticing pictures to tempt you. Look for simple items rather than those that are smothered in sauce. I’ve given you a chart that highlights the better options for cooking style.
More often than not, your entree will be big enough to cover dinner and a lunch, so consider what would reheat easily. Ask your server to bring you a to-go box with the meal. Then put 1/3 – 1/2 of the meal in the box and close it. You won’t be as likely to overeat if the food is not on your plate.
If you are ordering a salad – good for you! – I suggest that you ask for the dressing on the side. The nutritional value of many an entree salad is ruined by an overload of dressing. When you get your salad you can either drizzle half of the dressing over the vegetables or, better yet, collect a bit on your fork and lightly dip it into the dressing. That part of the bite will be the first on your tongue and the flavor will cover the whole bite without an overload of empty calories.
How will your meat or entree be cooked? The restaurant may present an entree one way in its description, but you can ask whether it can be prepared differently. Does the menu say the chicken breast is breaded and fried? You can certainly ask whether it can be grilled without the breading. The same with a fish entree.
What side dish(es) are offered with your entree of choice? If one of them is a form of potato, you may want to ask whether you can substitute steamed vegetables or a side salad. When ordering a small steak that is normally served with steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes, ask for a double order of broccoli or broccoli and another side dish that isn’t high in starch.
My last suggestion is that you not allow yourself to be rushed through your meal. You have the opportunity to sit back and be served. Don’t rush to consume the food and hurry out. By allowing your body to relax, you will promote better digestion and thereby greater nutrient absorption. That is, after all, the purpose of eating.
We seem to have slipped into the expectation of flavor and indulgence in our meals. Isn’t that what is stirred up by the ads you see? Yet most of these ads promote food-like substances … not food that will truly nourish your body.
A key aspect of editing your approach to improve your wellness is choosing food that will truly nourish your body. Delicious? Yes! Nutritious? Yes! Choose to pursue wellness, because health is wealth.