Finding low-fat solutions can be difficult, especially when eating out, going to parties and going out with friends who might pressure you into eating bad foods. Yet it can be done, and there are lots of low-fat tricks for almost any situation.
Eating at Restaurants
Eating outside of the house can be tough, especially considering the enormous portions we Americans are used to eating. Restaurant portions are often three or four times the recommended size, and if you’re not careful, you will inadvertently consume an entire day’s allowance of fat and calories. Here are a few tips:
- If time permits, try visiting the restaurant’s website so you can decide what you’ll order beforehand. This is a very useful strategy, as you can hone in on a healthy choice immediately and won’t have to pore through high-fat menu choices when you are starving.
- When choosing, get to know healthy words like “steamed,” “grilled” and “poached.” Those are the least fattening ways to prepare food, and often no oil or butter is used.
- Stay away from anything that is “breaded,” “lightly breaded” or “battered.” Nothing good can ever came from food prepared by covering it with starch and dropping it into a vat of oil and trans fat.
- Also stay away from anything pan-fried or stir-fried, as that means the food was prepared with lots of oil or butter.
- A great way to become accustomed to reasonable portion sizes is to invest in a digital food scale to use at home so you can start to easily visualize reasonable portions once outside of the house. Many online retailers sell such scales.
- No serving of food should be bigger than your hand when you make a fist. If it is, split it in half, ask for a “to go” box and put it away for later consumption.
- Always substitute vegetables or salad for french fries. You’ll save yourself a lot of fat and calories.
- Don’t be tricked by entree salads with fried noodles and tons of salad dressing, either. Salad dressing and condiments alone can add 500 to 800 calories and 30 grams of fat to your salad that you did not intend to eat.
- Always order salad dressing and any salad toppings on the side and get used to dipping the tip of your fork in your salad dressing instead of pouring it on. Start to savor the taste of crunchy vegetables.
- Get your baked potato dry (try topping it with salsa and light sour cream—it’s delicious) and your vegetables steamed.
- Always ask for brown rice instead of white.
Eating at Parties
Are you going to a party where there will be food? Hors d’oeuvres are always pretty and tempting, but they are also often high in calories, fat and starches that make you crave more. Try eating a healthy meal full of fiber before your next party. If you think dessert will be tough to turn down, put a nutrition bar in your purse and take it with you.
Selecting Food at Grocery Stores
Grocery stores are like casinos: full of tempting things that are bad for you and your health. They are purposely designed that way. The next time you find yourself grocery shopping (and remember never to shop on an empty stomach), remind yourself of that. Enter the store knowing that the lighting, pretty packaging, and the layout are designed with one main thing in mind: marketing.
Become a “perimeter shopper.” Everything you need for healthy sustenance lies on the perimeter of the store: fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs and health foods. Technically, there is nothing in a grocery shop aisle that we need to survive and eat healthily. Breads, cookies, crackers, sodas, candy and prepackaged meals high in sodium are the things you’ll find in an aisle.
So, you see, there are many tricks and ideas for eating low fat in a high-fat world. Try some of these techniques, and you may cut your calorie and fat consumption in half.