Healthy eating on the run

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 9, 2003

Increasingly, consumers want fast, easy and good-tasting foods to fit a busy lifestyle.

Whether it's fast-food, take-out, or a sit-down restaurant, eating out has become part of the American lifestyle.

Today, food is available almost everywhere we go n schools, businesses, convenience stores, bookstores, supermarkets, vending machines, sports and cultural events, and recreation centers.

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Even fitness centers offer food and drink.

The following tips will help you make wise food choices for &uot;Healthy Eating, Healthy You.&uot;

Take time to look over the menu and make careful selections.

Choose fried foods only sometimes n go for grilled, broiled or steamed foods more often.

Order the regular or kid-size portion instead of the mega-size serving.

Make milk or a low-fat shake your beverage of choice for an extra calcium boost.

Try a side salad instead of fries.

Split your order.

Share fries or an extra large sandwich with a friend.

Boost the nutrients in all kinds of sandwiches by adding tomato, peppers, and other vegetables.

In place of fries or fried onion rings, order corn on the cob, green beans, baked beans , or rice.

A baked potato offers more fiber and fewer calories than fries; just go easy on the sour cream and butter.

Top your potato with broccoli, a small amount of cheese or salsa.

At the deli or sub shop, choose lean beef, ham, turkey, or chicken on whole-grain bread.

For a lighter meal, order an appetizer for your entre'e.

Go easy on condiments, special sauces and dressings on sandwiches and salads.

Ask for mustard, ketchup, salsa, or low-fat spreads and dressings.

Enjoy ethnic foods such as Chinese stir-fry, vegetable-stuffed pita or Mexican burrito.

Go easy on the sour cream, cheese and guacamole.

At the salad bar, pile on the dark leafy greens, carrots, peppers, and other fresh vegetables.

Lighten up on mayonnaise-based salads and high fat toppings.

Restaurant portions too large?

Take home half the main course for another meal.

Order salad with dressing on the side so you can control how much is added.

Eat your lower-calorie food first.

Soup or salad is a good choice.

Pass up all-you-can-eat specials, buffets, and unlimited salad bars, if you tend to eat too much.

If you choose the buffet, fill up on salad and vegetables first.

Take no more than two trips, and use the small plate which holds less food.

Try a smoothie made with juice, fruit and yogurt for a light lunch or snack.

For dessert, choose fresh fruit or a container of fruit chunks if available.

Or, share dessert with a friend.

If you eat pizza, top it with vegetables.

If you add meat, make it lean ham, Canadian bacon, chicken or shrimp.

Instead of a doughnut, order an English muffin, bagel or a plain soft-baked pretzel.

Lightly spread the cream cheese or margarine n or just use jam or jelly.

Be size wise about muffins, bagels, croissants and biscuits.

A jumbo muffin has twice the fat grams and calories as the regular size.

Eat yogurt and fruit for a quick on-the-run breakfast to start your day.

Build a better breakfast sandwich n replace the bacon or sausage with Canadian bacon or ham and order your sandwich on an English muffin, bagel or bun.

For a good, quick breakfast, eat dry cereal and milk.

Make the cereal whole-grain or bran and you'll get fiber along with B vitamins and complex carbohydrates.

Fresh fruit is already packaged to go.

Eat a variety of seasonal fruits.