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Health And Beauty: Eating out - choosing healthier options

Eating out - choosing healthier optionsYour weight
Expert advice to help you maintain a healthy weight

Dissatisfied with your weight?
We're bombarded with scare stories about weight, from size zero to the obesity 'epidemic'. But a healthy weight is determined by different factors for each of us. Our expert advice is designed to help you achieve and maintain a healthy, life-enhancing weight.

Overweight or underweight?
Being the right weight has a positive effect on wellbeing but also on our health, as being the wrong weight can cause a range of medical problems.

More and more of us are eating out on a regular basis, whether it's for a business lunch, a girls' get together, or for a family meal.

The 2006 Family Food Survey found that households where the head of the household was under 30 years old were spending more than 40 per cent of their food budget on eating out.

Eating out usually means that we have little control over how the food is prepared or how large the portion is. Foods eaten out tend to be higher in fat and research has shown that those who eat out regularly generally have higher intakes of fat, salt and calories. Studies have also shown that eating with friends can tempt us to overeat. Meals with multiple courses eaten over longer periods and with alcohol are all associated with overindulgence. Large serving bowls and spoons increase the likelihood of piling more food on your plate than you usually eat.

Unlike packaged food, foods bought from cafes, restaurants etc don't have to carry nutritional information and so opting for the healthiest option might not always be obvious, or easy. However, with some knowledge and thought, eating out can be enjoyable and healthy!

General tips
If you're unsure as to what something is, or what it contains - ask! If the waiter/waitress doesn't know, then the chef will.
Think ahead, if you know you're eating out later and it could be a lavish affair, choose wisely earlier in the day to keep calories, fat, sugar and salt intakes under control.
Don't eat an extra course just to be polite.
Only order a sweet after the main course, and only if still hungry. Opt for sorbets, or fruit dishes to balance out a heavy main course.
Think about sharing a course with a companion if the portions look large.
Speak up about how you'd like a dish prepared eg ask for no mayonnaise, dressing on the side.
You're more likely to overeat at an 'all you can eat' style buffet.
Choose side orders of salad or vegetables to fill up on.
Cut off any visible fat from meat to keep saturated fat intake down.
Look out for smaller portions ie a main meal option as a starter size.
Opt for dishes which are grilled, baked, steamed, poached or cooked in own juice rather than fried.
Check the menu for dressings on salads and ask for it to be served separately. An otherwise healthy and nutritious salad could be drowned in a high fat sauce, bumping up its calorie content.
Avoid cheese, cream or butter-based sauces
If you're a cheese lover, think about sharing the cheese board option to keep saturated fat, salt and calorie intakes in check.



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