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Eating in the modern world can be difficult owing to the genetic modifications, chemical treatments, and inhumanely raised food floating around out there. Sometimes compromising is necessary when it comes to food choices, but still, there are some food items that food nutritionists would never let touch their lips owing to their harmful impact on health and weight.
But it doesn't mean you can't eat out. Any type of social hangout like going out for movies, dinner, coffee, date with loved ones, etc. is incomplete without FOOD. But if you are watching your weight or just are concerned with healthy eating, dining out can be a challenge. The good news is that usually there are healthier options at every restaurant, even at fast-food places.
Here’s the list of items which you should stay away:-
Those colorful breakfast cereals which you consider good for your health are highly processed, have a high GI because of the high and hidden sugar content (which causes your blood sugars to drop very quickly after eating them), high in sodium, and high in preservatives. So there is only one thing we can say about them – Just don’t eat them.
Alternatives: Instead of breakfast cereals opt for quinoa porridge or my homemade gluten-free granola.
The key ingredients used in the manufacturing of this product is sugar. As these are laden with sugar and preservatives, processed peanut butter is a big no-no.
Alternatives: 100% nut butter found in health food stores or a health foods section of grocery stores. Eg:- Almond butter or ABC (almond, brazil nut, and cashew) nut butter.
Nutritionists avoid salted nuts as the sodium content in pre-salted is sky-high.
Alternatives: Raw and activated nuts and seeds.
Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with growth hormones to boost milk production. Not only does this increase the production but it also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to increased levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk.
Alternatives: Organic milk, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk.
Vegetable oils are highly processed and high in trans fats. Normally saturated fats get the blame, but actually, trans fats are the ones responsible for the increase in LDL — the bad type of cholesterol that may lead to bad heart health.
Alternatives: Coconut oil, olive oil
There’s tons of hidden salt and sugar! The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Alternatives: Fresh and organic vegetables and fruits
Since our bodies don’t recognize these substances as food, rather than curbing the desire for sweeteners they actually increase it and ultimately result in weight gain.
Alternatives: Rice malt syrup, maple syrup, dates, raw honey (in small amounts).
Margarine is high in “bad fats” also known as trans fats – fats formed during the hydrogenation process (which turns liquid vegetable oils into solids).
Alternatives: Organic butter, coconut butter, or avocado as an alternative!
The animals that make these products are given growth hormones, antibiotics, and other veterinary drugs, and are raised in deplorable conditions that are not good for human health. These meats are also filled with sodium nitrite (a commonly used preservative and antimicrobial agent that also adds color and flavor) and other chemical flavorings and dyes.
Alternatives: Organic meat
So if you are really serious about losing weight and maintaining good health swear that you would not touch these unhealthy foods and say a strict no to them just like the nutritionists!
By following some simple guidelines, you can enjoy eating out and still have a healthy diet. So here are few of the smart choices that I make to avoid being antisocial and at the same time keep my weight loss practices on the right path:
If you are going for a coffee with your friend or colleague, you can make it worthy and harmless for your diet regime. Sometimes you feel that it’s just a coffee and it’s absolutely ok to take it, but NO.
Acappuccino/frappe may be as heavy as a meal as they are loaded with added sugar and fats and hence it becomes important to make a healthier choice:
Order a black coffee or a green tea instead of a latte or a whole fat cappuccino. If you want to use a creamer, then ask for almond milk or soy milk rather than taking a whole fat creamer.
If you like to have something cold, have an iced coffee with stevia or treat yourself with a mocha without sugar.
If you want to munch on something, avoid high-fat muffins/cakes/biscotti’s and opt for nuts!
If you are a movie buff and like to catch up on movies often with your friends or family, then go ahead with that but know how to stay healthy and avoid unnecessary calories coming from that junk food being served at the theaters:
If you prefer popcorn, then the ideal quantity is 2 handfuls as it is loaded with butter.
Instead of nachos and cheese, get yourself something else like a low-fat frozen yogurt (if there is any healthy option).
Avoid hot dogs and go for no cheese/butter sandwiches.
Avoid empty calories present in sugar-loaded cola drinks; instead, opt for plain water.
Now, this is the most tricky place where all your week’s effort can go in vain in minutes. So let me highlight some healthier options, which could be a great help to save your weight loss efforts:
Usually, the evening or the afternoon starts with drinks. So make sure your drinks are not loaded with sodas or any type of sugar syrups. Instead have sparkling water or a fresh lime with soda.
At a Chinese restaurant, order a clear soup (vegetables/chicken) with no MSG or order some steamed veggies. Also, if you like dim sum, relish their taste as well but keep the quantity in mind (have 2 pieces).
At a Japanese restaurant, order yourself a miso soup and some sushi. It will make you so full that you can jump straight to the desserts and skip the main course.
At a Mexican restaurant, have a soup and some guacamole with chips (have 4-5).
At an Italian restaurant, have some nice broth soup as it has few calories in comparison to the other creamy soups. You can have some crostini with no cheese or a salad with dressing on the side.
At an Indian restaurant, have a dal soup/chicken tikka/paneer tikka. Avoid the kebabs as they are loaded with fats.
Some of the super healthy and extremely delicious options for the sides are as under:
Instead of fries, go for sauteing veggies.
Ask for steamed broccoli seasoned with salt and pepper as they are yummy.
Order jacket potato with some salsa.
Chinese/Thai main course choices – steamed brown rice/white rice with veggies or chicken. Avoid lamb!
Japanese main course can be again some rice & veggies.
Mexican cuisine healthier choices can include burrito without the cheese.
Italian food lovers can enjoy pizza with less cheese and lots of veggies, no sauce pasta with vegetables/olive oil. Avoid high cheese and cream main course options like lasagne.
Indian main course choices can include dal tadka with some rice or a chicken gravy without ghee or cream. Another option that can be opted is a tandoori roti with some low-fat palak paneer.
Go light on the main course options as desserts are yet to come!
One should never curb the desire for desserts while going as you have a wide number of healthy choices available. Don’t forget to follow the sharing rule while enjoying desserts- have a spoon or two rather than having the whole portion. Here are a few safe choices:
A plate of fresh fruits.
Low-fat yogurt topped with fruits.
Granita or sorbets.
Hence by opting for these choices, you can effectively balance your health and social lifestyles. Don’t forget that weight loss is easy if you have your way outs. So be smart and create an inspiration around for others as well. Remember that cheating with your diet once a while is definitely OKAY but if you make some lifestyle changes, the journey of weight loss becomes easier and fun. Cheers!
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