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Old 05-27-2011, 11:30 AM   #1
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I had to go out of town unexpectedly last week for almost a whole week for a funeral. Except for the few snacks I had on hand, we ate out every. single. meal. I only gained .8 lbs, so I am thrilled, and the weight is rapidly dropping off this week since I returned home.

One interesting thing I noticed is all the apparent hidden sodium in the "healthier" menu options at restaurants. I know this because when I am eating only home-cooked food, my hands never swell anymore (they used to balloon up like crazy). And, after the first meal out, my hands ballooned up and remained that way until after I returned home and got back on home-cooked food again.

It's so weird! Even on my healthiest night's meal - the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday - my hands swelled. This was my first meal out on the trip, and my hands exploded the next morning! The only thing I can think of in that meal is the vinaigrette dressing that was touted as one of their healthy options. Insane.

I managed to get out and walk and run a little which I think helped minimize the eating out damage. We're going back out of town in a couple of weeks for 10 days, but hopefully I will be more prepared and take a lot of my own foods.

Has anyone else noticed the hidden sodium in restaurants. I wish restaurants were nicer and didn't do this to their food.

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Old 05-27-2011, 12:04 PM   #2
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Logically speaking, restaurants CANNOT un-do the "hidden sodium" in their foods. Sodium is a preservative & is what makes foods shelf (or refrigerated) stable. Restaurants have to use large cans of foods and frozen foods, etc. - they simply cannot serve everything fresh. Food would spoil much too quickly and be unusable and therefore cut too deeply into their profit.

Even their "fresh" foods aren't totally fresh. Unless, of course, they have their own cows, chickens, fish-stocked ponds, & veggie gardens & fruit trees out back.

But making healthy choices while dining out? There's the conundrum. It's doable, but it takes planning, planning, & more planning. I start by eating only HALF of what I'm served, no matter what it is. I always drink water w/lemon, so no calories in my beverage. I choose steamed veggie whenever possible, and usually stick to baked/broiled fish or chicken. Sometimes I get in the mood for steak, and when I do, I happily go for filet mignon. I pass on the bread (too filling!!) and I usually try to make room for dessert.

ALSO: you don't always have to settle for "what's offered" - you can quite often order off menu! Most restaurants are happy to serve what you ask for if they can accommodate your request.

Bon appetit!
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Old 05-27-2011, 04:21 PM   #3
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It is SCARY how much sodium is in restaurant prepared foods! I am on a low sodium diet due to a post partum heart problem, not for my blood pressure, and I have found that watching sodium intake when you enjoy dining out can be a nightmare!
Steamed veggies are definitely the way to go & salads are good if you moderate your dressings. I'm not a fish eater, but lean chicken & beef are favorites of mine. You really have to be careful of these because of the preservatives, but also whatever "rub" they put on them prior to & during cooking... Here's an example:
We went to the local steakhouse & I ordered the 6 oz sirloin (split it for take-home) & requested that they cook it plain, then the waitress asked:
"So, you don't want any salt & pepper mix? "
Me: "No thanks"
Waitress: "so you don't want any butter on it?"
Me: "umm, no thanks"
Waitress:"so you don't want any MSG (used as meat tenderizer)?"
Me: "oh, my...No thanks..."
I almost fell out of my chair, because I had no idea that there were that many things added to a "simple" grilled steak... So we all have to be vigilant, because sodium is fine, but it definitely has to be in moderation, because we are definitely getting much more than we realize, even if we are good label readers at home or do our homework online before we dine out...
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Old 05-27-2011, 08:26 PM   #4
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Yep, the sodium is crazy. I tend to only eat at fresh, local restaurants when I'm in town (but that is still rare). At least there I can get to know the owners and chefs and really know what's up there! Otherwise, it's all about me cooking at home!

I think I will take the advice of special ordering at restaurants, too. I never think about that, and I don't know why. I have no problem saying leave cheese off of something, but I've never special ordered something not on the menu! It's going to be a permanent thing for me when I eat out at non-local or chain restaurants.

Thanks, ladies! :-)
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Old 05-27-2011, 08:26 PM   #5
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Oh, and... MSG???????????????? What?!?! That is crazy!
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