Dig Baton Rouge

Smart Dining

By Rickey Miller

As a student, you probably eat out quite a bit. Trying to maintain your academic life and social life can be demanding, leaving you very little time to actually prepare good, healthy, quality food from the comfort of your home. However, there are options and ways to eat smart while dining out.

Cracking Myths

In order to eat smart you need to know which of those tips you’ve heard about healthy eating are simply myths.

Dining Late Causes Weight Gain: FALSE

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture, “It does not matter what time of day you eat. It is what and how much you eat and how much physical activity you do during the whole day that determines whether you gain, lose, or maintain your weight.” However, while eating late may not cause you to pack on the pounds, studies have shown that late night eating can lead to indigestion and a various sleeping issues.

Pasta = Extra Pounds: FALSE  

Enjoy your favorite pasta dishes and stop worrying! Carbohydrates have been traditionally considered the “bad” foods, leaving great dishes like pasta with a bad reputation. RealSimple.com states, “Carbohydrates per se don’t           make you fat; extra calories do, whether you eat them in the form of carbs, fats, or protein.” What is true of foods like pastas is the fact that Americans do tend to over-eat carbohydrates thus causing its bad rep.

Choosing Fish Or Chicken When Eating Out Is Always A Healthier Choice: FALSE

Truth is, choosing fish and chicken when eating at your favorite restaurant is not always the best decision. Actually, fish and chicken options are no healthier than that delicious steak that’s been on your mind. Why is this? Well, typically lots of oils and seasonings are added to these fish and chicken entrees to create that yummy taste that you find irresistible – in turn, these oils and seasonings create higher calorie and fat content.

Salads Are The Healthy Way To Go: TRUE and FALSE

Depending on the way the salad is prepared makes a huge difference in whether it can be deemed a healthy eating choice. For instance, if you order a salad but add a ton of bacon, cheese, and ranch – it’s probably not as healthy as you would like to think.

So, How Can I Dine Out While Eating Smart?

Well there are several tips and tricks to eating smart while dining out. Here are just a few you should know…

The 50/25/25 Rule

One key rule to remember when dining is to follow the 50/25/25 rule. What does this mean exactly? Well, when dining make sure your entrée is composed of 50 percent vegetables, 25 percent proteins, and 25 percent carbs. Paring your plate with just the right amount of veggies, proteins, and carbs will set you up for a healthy meal that will keep the pounds off and give you just the right nutrition you need.

Eat Until You’re Comfortable, Not Until You’re Full

Another important thing to remember when dining is to never overeat. Overeating causes you to feel absolutely miserable and adds to your calorie count that you probably won’t burn off. Snaking throughout the day so you aren’t extremely hungry will prevent you from overeating once you arrive at your favorite restaurant. Another tip you probably didn’t know is eating slowly actually plays a big role in how full you feel when eating. Studies have shown that it takes the brain approximately 20 minute to realize your body is full. When you feel yourself getting stuffed, ask for a to-go box and save it for next days lunch – you’ll be saving calories and money!

Ask Questions!

Don’t be afraid to ask about your food. One good question to ask is what products are actually being used in your food. Knowing exactly how and what your food is being made from can make a difference in your choice and can be the difference between you eating 1,000 calories and 400 calories.

Choose Water.

Instead of asking for that soda that contains high-levels of sugars, choose a nice cold glass of water. Not only will the water make you feel hydrated and refreshed – but it will save you bucks.

Don’t Be Influenced.

Although your friends may not be on the healthy track, you can be that positive influence. Don’t let your friends’ choices influence the type of foods you order. 

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