Making Healthier Choices
We’ve all been there, one night of the week, lets call it date night, and we pull out the menu to see what delicious food we’re going to be eating. Only problem being that we’re not sure what to look for when it comes to eating healthy. This brings us back to the basics, we spoke about them earlier and we’ll continue to speak about them over the course of your program and the remainder of the Nutrition Education series.
The options can seem endless and it all looks so good but we want to eat something remotely healthy because we didn’t hammer out a big session after work to throw it all away at dinner time right? So the first thing we need to do is:
Don’t focus on calories: By all means take a look at the number next to the menu item (if they have one) but knowing that this could be off by as much as 25% makes it virtually pointless.
The chef puts a lot of time into creating a menu that he believes tastes great and the public will love but he may not have taken the time to think about people like you who wants both tasty and healthy-ish. This is where (whilst it might not be appreciated) you have the option to make changes to the menu to suit your requirements. For instance if you decide on the chicken schnitzel with chips, salad and dressing but you’re not sure that it’s a healthy option, you can:
a) Think about how the chicken is cooked eg deep fried, battered, steamed or pan fried. b) Usually the menu offers a choice between chips or veggies. Veggies would be the far healthier choice of the two as far as nutritional content is concerned. c) Salads are healthy right? Yea, they’re not bad but it’s not the salad that you should be concerned about, it’s what they put on it. The dressing is essentially covering your nice beautiful green salad in oil. Not ideal!
As an example for the chicken schnitzel you could perhaps ask for your chicken to be pan fried, veggies instead of chips and for the dressing to be left to the side (so you choose how much you have on your plate). You might get an odd look or two but you’ve turned a relatively unhealthy meal into a meal that packs nutritional content! If that’s a little bit too much of a change to make, look at substituting one or two items rather than the lot, it all goes towards making it a healthier meal without messing with the taste.
Drinks can be another area that substitutions can be made. Some of us love soft drinks, others like wine/ beer and then you have those that are quite happy with water. Soft drinks are easily substituted with sugar free options (doesn’t make it healthy, just less sugar and calories) such as Coke No Sugar or Pepsi Max. As discussed in the alcohol chapter, it’s less to do with the calories as it is with the alcohols relationship with the body. Two options are readily available here.
Find a drink that has a lower alcohol reading (doesn’t mean you can now drink more of it).
Reduce the amount you drink during/ after the meal.
So when you next eat out and you’d like to select a meal that’s both healthy and tasty, focus on how your meal is cooked, how to make changes that make it healthier without defeating the purpose of choosing the meal in the first place and finally, just because the plate is put in front of you, it doesn’t mean you need to lick it clean, you can simply push it to one side when you feel like you’ve had enough.
Non processed foods are the way to go if you want to play it safe but by all means, once a week, enjoy yourself without going nuts and you’ll feel better for it.
We know that these are basic suggestions but these are the things most of us forget. If you have any further questions to this chapter, ask away and we’ll gladly help.
Justin Beard Pn1