Daniel Ketchum – How I Eat Healthy When Dining Out
I wish I could always cook at home but that is just not possible. With such diet restrictions as I have (I monitor my salt, carbs and fat intake), eating out can be impossible. Just try to get a heart-healthy meal at some of the fast food places! Even a buffet line can be hazardous. I rarely have problems at expensive restaurants because they will cook it like you want, but many chain restaurants have hidden issues that you cannot fix. Reading through a nutrition list to find out what you can eat is also a pain. Some lists are so long and involved that it takes longer to order than it does to eat. Some restaurants do not even have nutrition lists (for example, small local restaurants).
I have found a few restaurants that have excellent nutrition guides online but even there I need to spend time trying to find what I need.
So here are some quick tips I use to eat well when dining out:
1. A good fresh salad bar is an ideal start. Any restaurant that has one will usually have the other stuff I need.
2. Buffet restaurants are iffy – they enhance poor quality food with lots of salt – but if they have a nutrition guide you can pick the stuff that works.
3. Assume meats are pre-seasoned or marinated or brined unless they say otherwise.
4. Start your order with “I am a heart patient and I have dietary restrictions” so they know you are serious about your seemingly petty requests.
5. Order it like you want it and do not forget to say things like “no salt, no butter, no sauce, no mayonnaise, no mustard, no ketchup, no seasoning, no pickles, no dressing …”. Many restaurant workers do not understand that there is salt in all those things.
6. Salad dressing is a hidden bomb so always ask for it on the side. Use oil and vinegar or one of the very few that are low salt. You can also just put fruit on your salad.
%u200BWhen I travel, I fall back on fast-food restaurants where I can get a plain burger patty and a salad but even there I have found I need to specify "no-salt" because "plain" is just not enough information.
Tell us: How do you stay healthy when dining out?