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For Better Living
Sandra Cain
    

Tips for Eating Out

    

Research shows that on any given day, almost half of all adults in the United States will eat at least one restaurant meal. Contrary to what you may think, it is possible to eat out and still eat healthy.  Many restaurants offer delicious meals that are low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. That’s good news for your health because a diet high in saturated and trans fats raises blood cholesterol. High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, and it’s also a risk factor for stroke.
 
When eating out, ask which type of fat the restaurant uses. Try to replace the saturated and trans fats in your food with more healthful unsaturated oils. Canola, olive and corn oil are among the most desirable. Request soft and trans-fat-free margarine.
 
It is also important to consider the portion size. Help control your weight by asking for smaller portions, or sharing an entree with a friend or family member.  You may also ask for a take-out box when your food arrives and put half in the box to take home for the next day’s lunch. 
 
A guide to choosing healthy meals away from home
 
    * Fried, au gratin, crispy, escalloped, pan-fried, sautéed or stuffed foods are high in fat and calories. Instead, look for steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached or roasted foods. If you’re not sure about a certain dish, ask your server how it’s prepared.
    * Pay attention to phrases that indicate lower fat preparation such as steamed, in its own juice, garden fresh, broiled, roasted or poached. 
    * Even if dishes low in saturated fat and cholesterol aren't on the menu, you may still be able to get a healthy meal.  Many restaurants will prepare foods to order.   Ask for items like skim milk, broiled meats and whole grain breads.  If you’re not sure about a particular restaurant, phone before you go.
    * High-sodium foods include those that are pickled, in cocktail sauce, smoked, in broth or au jus or in soy or teriyaki sauce. Steer clear of these.
 
A Word About “Fast Food”
 
Even in a fast food restaurant, you can make healthy choices.  Fruits and salads are usually available.  Skim milk and juices are on the menu and baked potatoes with a variety of topping may be a choice. 
 
Order sandwiches to be as simple as possible.  The “super size” and double and triple deckers have much more fat, calories and sodium than you need.  Choose grilled chicken instead of fried. Ask for mayonnaise and salad dressings on the side. 
 
Keep Food Safe to Eat
 
One last thought about eating out.  Be sure your food is cooked to the proper doneness.  If not, send it back.  When taking leftover food home, be sure to get it in the refrigerator within two hours to avoid possible food contamination.
 
Let USDA’s MyPlate help guide your food choices.  One basic recommendation of MyPlate is to eat a variety of foods.  Make food selections to fit in the basic food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and protein.  Log onto www.choosemyplate.gov to find your basic recommended daily amounts from each food group based on your sex, age and activity level. 
 
Sources: University of Nebraska
               American Heart Association
 
Honey-Soy Pork Chops
 
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon unsweetened apple juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 boneless pork loin chops (4 ounces each)
 
In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Pour ½ cup into a large resealable plastic bag. Add pork chops. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade for basting.
 
Coat grill with cooking spray before starting the grill. Drain and discard marinade. Grill pork, covered, over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees, basing frequently with remaining marinade.

    
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