Eating out, and the amount we spend on it, especially on fast foods, has been rising steadily for decades, and parallels the increase in daily calorie intake that is contributing to the growing obesity crisis.These findings tell us that many people who eat at fast-food restaurants may not be making informed choices because they don’t know how many calories they’re consuming.
Teenagers are particularly unaware of their calorie intake with most of them assuming that the meals contain more than one third fewer calories than they actually have when eating fast foods.
Some fast food chains continue serving meals associated with serious health risks. Their meals may sound and look extremely appealing, but they are actually incredibly fattening and can eventually harm human health if eaten regularly over the long-term.
making healthy choices while eating out is difficult because the combination of tempting options and excessive portions often overwhelm our self-control
A research concluded in 2010 says that 92% of restaurant meals exceeded total calories recommended for a single meal.What is more, some of these meals exceeded total daily calorie recommendations.
But basically, what we all suffer from is the lack of discipline and willpower to control our “cephalic phase of digestion” – where the sight, smell, thought or taste of food stimulates appetite, making it hard to resist when it is put in front of us.
“All we have to do is see and smell food and our sympathetic nervous system revs up, insulin secretion drops blood glucose and our stomach relaxes – the goal of these physiological changes being to prepare us to eat all the food within reach, So we order our favorite dishes because that is what tempts us, and then we eat more than we need because the portion is too large.
Always remember–Overeating is a key contributor to obesity; eating too much food can cause an energy imbalance, where more calories are taken in than used, leading to weight gain.
In order to combat this biological mechanism that tempts us to overeat,I suggest that diners should have the option of ordering meals in portion sizes that suit them:
“Standard meals are sized for the hungriest customers, so most people need superhuman self-control to avoid overeating. There is a gender dimension here that is really important: women typically have a lower caloric requirement than men, so on average need to eat less. Women, while dining out, typically have to be more vigilant.”
MORE TIPS FOR HEALTHY EATING OUT
Do your research first: find out who(restaurant or fast foods)is offering healthy, low fat meals.
Eat something, like a piece of fruit, or drink a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon, about half an hour before, so you are not starving when you order, which can affect your choices.
If you can’t control your portions, avoid restaurants or fast foods that offer buffet or “all you can eat” menus.
Eat half the entrée and ask them to wrap the rest for you to take home.
Order one meal with two plates, one for you, one for your dining partner.
Have an appetizer as a main course.
Don’t eat everything: skip the bits you like less.
Prefer spinach, cucumber, dark green leaf salads (they are more nutritious) to those where the only leaf is pale lettuce.
Avoid thick sauces made with butter or cream: ask the waiter if you are not sure. Go for stock-based sauce, or cooked in own juices instead.
Instead of french fries, have baked potato, a side salad, or some steamed vegetables.
Skip the mayonnaise and rich sauces in sandwiches and ask for extra tomatoes, onions, lettuce, mustard instead.
Eat less at another meal in the day – but don’t skip meals, as this can lead to binge eating.
Watch the alcohol and sweetened drinks: they are also rich in calories.
Look for low fat, grilled, flame-cooked, broiled and steamed main dishes instead of battered, tempura, breaded, fried foods.
Choose hard rolls, plain bread sticks, french bread or wholemeal buns and avoid dishes made with pastries, croissants and biscuits.
Choose soups that are broth-based rather than cream or milk-based.
Have extra vegetable toppings on your pizza instead of meat and extra cheese