Eating Out? Eating Healthy!

Even under the best of circumstances, eating more healthfully can be a real challenge for many. This may be especially true when dining out. The good news is that many foodservice operations are sitting up and taking notice when it comes to offering more healthful menu selections and preparation styles including more low-fat and low cholesterol dishes.

The American Heart Association (AHA) reminds us that eating less fat (especially less saturated fat) and less cholesterol is important for maintaining good health. And as we all know (or should know by now), diets high in saturated fat may raise cholesterol, which in turn may be a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

The AHA offers the following recommendations as a guideline for choosing more healthful meals away from home.

Pay attention to preparation styles.
Generally speaking, menu offerings described as fried, basted, braised, au gratin, crispy, escalloped, pan-fried, sautťed or stuffed are high in fat. Go for more healthful preparation styles such as dishes that are steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached or roasted.

Donít be afraid to ask.
If youíre not sure how a food is prepared, ask your server for more details. Remember, many restaurants will prepare foods to order. So even if dishes low in saturated fat and cholesterol arenít evident on the menu, donít give up. Ask first!

Watch that salt.
The AHA recommends steering clear of high-sodium foods as well. Be especially watchful of menu items that are pickled, smoked or served in cocktail sauce, broth or au jus, a tomato base or in a soy or teriyaki sauce.