Healthy restaurant eating for convenient diners » Manila Bulletin Lifestyle

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by Cheshire Que, RND, RN, RD

One day can change your whole life. Each year on the second Saturday of June, the world celebrates Global Wellness Day, a day solely dedicated to living well. This year’s theme is all about mindfulness and happiness. Being mindful of how we live our lives greatly impacts our health.

There are many facets of mindfulness, one of which is our eating lifestyle. Being a mindful eater is not limited to just knowing what to eat and how much to eat. It entails food availability, food choices, meal timing, eating experience, and so much more.

Our eating lifestyle today, which is centered on convenient dining is a far cry from our ancestors’ home-cooked nutrient-rich meals. In this obesogenic society that we dwell in, meals are packed with calories yet lacking in nutrient density.

It is unrealistic to expect that we can totally avoid dining out, especially when our lives are so fast-paced and convenient food is within reach. Let’s also not forget how Filipinos culturally love to celebrate all types of occasion with sumptuous meals often eaten out or ordered in.

Edsa Shangri-la’s The Health Club, a total wellness haven, incorporated Healthy Restaurant Eating in their LIVE 2017 Event (Move. Refuel. Recover) on Global Wellness Day. Here are some tips on how to avoid portion traps I have shared that day to health enthusiasts in order to help them become more mindful and stay healthy when dining out:

– Larger portions or upsizing that comes by adding a few coins do not only give you value for money. You get extra calories, fats, sugar, and sodium as well. Avoid the temptation and just eat a reasonable portion of your meal. No need to stretch your tummy beyond its capacity. Don’t upsize!

-Don’t drink your calories! Water, unsweetened iced or hot tea, brewed/black coffee, zero calorie softdrinks, and clear soups are better than other sugary beverages, if you are trying to cut down on your caloric intake. One hundred percent fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies can be consumed to replace fresh fruits and vegetables, which are often not available or are more expensive than the main entree.

-Learn to share calories by ordering an entree split. Share a dessert with everyone on the table instead of ordering a 350 kcal slice of chocolate cake for each person. If you’re eating solo, it’s best to choose from the appetizer menu instead of forcing yourself to finish a huge serving of entree.

-Beware of hidden calories such as that packet of sugar and creamer for your coffee, syrup added 100 percent fruit juices and smoothies, dollop of butter, or bread on the side.

-Avoid preloading your spoon and fork while you are chewing. Put your utensils down when you have food in your mouth. Savor your food and don’t gobble down. If you eat too fast, you will take in more calories before feeling full.

-Avoid grazing. This happens when you pick and nibble on leftovers when dinner is done but everyone is busy socializing with leftovers all over the table. Alter your taste buds by popping a sugar free mint in your mouth, drinking something bitter like tea or plain coffee, or having something sour like lemon water.

When it comes to eating out and eating healthy, always remember that eating should be both healthy and pleasurable. This can only be achieved through mindfulness.

www.cheshireque.com; cheshireque@gmail.com; Instagram/@cheshirequerdn

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