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Dining Out Doesnt Mean Derailing Your Heart Health

Dining Out Doesnt Mean Derailing Your Heart Health

5 tips for eating out


When it comes to eating out at restaurants, it can be a challenge to maintain a heart healthy diet. According to one study, restaurant meals contain an average of 1,205 calories—about half of a person’s typical daily recommendations. For reference, 570 calories are considered a benchmark for typical energy requirements per meal. That said, with a few simple tips, you can easily incorporate healthful choices that won’t derail your progress. Here are some quick and easy suggestions for heart healthy eating while dining out:


1.     Incorporate fiber and whole grains: Look for menu items that include whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, or whole-wheat pasta. Additionally, choose dishes that contain fiber-rich foods like beans, lentils, or sweet potatoes. These types of food will keep you feeling fuller for longer and are great for your heart health.


2.     Choose lean proteins: Opt for menu items that include lean proteins such as fish, chicken, or turkey. These proteins are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and will reduce your risk of heart disease.


3.     Find balance: If you're in the mood for a higher fat meat, make sure to balance it out with leafy greens or leaner proteins as appetizers. Skip the beurre blanc or ask for salad dressing on the side, so you can control how much you eat. This way, you can still enjoy your favorite dish while limiting nutrients of concern. 


4.     Slow the meal down: After a shared appetizer, add a mid-course of a shared salad to help slow down your eating and enjoy the dining experience. It'll give your body a chance to register that you're full when your entrée arrives, which can prevent overeating.


5.     Focus on fruits and vegetables: Finally, make a conscious effort to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your meal. Many restaurants will offer trendy and adventurous vegetable sides that you can add to your entree, or sample as an appetizer. Think shishito peppers or curry brussels sprouts.  These offerings add color, texture and variety to meals plus they’re low in calories and high in nutrients and fiber, making them essential for a healthy heart. 


Remember, dining out doesn't have to mean sacrificing your healthy eating habits. By incorporating these tips, you can enjoy delicious meals while still prioritizing your heart health.

Published February 1, 2024

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