By 2LT Abby Steiner, Dietetic Intern, BAMCJanuary 31, 2013
Whether you're trying to lose weight or just maintain your figure, the convenience of on-the-go foods can tempt any dieter to "fall off the wagon". But there is good news -- eating on-the-go doesn't have to be unhealthy. Whether you are the pizza lover, the fast-food junkie, the breakfast taco fanatic or anything in between, there is hope for you and your waistline! Let's explore dietary alternatives to satisfy your taste buds while staying within your nutrition needs.
For the pizza lover: If you've been in San Antonio awhile, you've most likely had the pleasure of searching for the best pizza place around. Don't deprive yourself of your favorite meal in order to stick with your diet plan. Instead, keep these tips in mind when feeding your pizza craving!
•Choose thin crust rather than deep-dish or regular crust to reduce calorie and carbohydrate content. Even if you are a deep dish lover, thin crust can be just as satisfying.
•Focus on adding lots of vegetables as toppings.
•If you are a meat lover opt for lean meats such as ham, Canadian bacon, and chicken. As a matter of perspective, bacon can contain twice the number of calories as chicken.
•A good pizza needs no dipping sauce. Eliminate excess parmesan cheese, garlic butter, and ranch dressing. These contain excess calories and fat that are of little nutritional value.
•Don't overindulge - eat only one slice. Add vegetables and fruit as side items to help fill you up and provide a balanced meal.
For the fast-food junkie: The convenience of having someone else cook for you is often appealing. Americans eat nearly 25% of their meals away from home. Fast food restaurants are adapting to meet the needs of health conscience individuals, which is great news for you. Here are several methods that can help you to make smart choices when ordering out.
•Often times, restaurants have options for "healthier" choices. Restaurant websites give you the opportunity to review nutrition information that generally is not listed on-site. Know what your options are before you stop at a restaurant. Having a plan will help you avoid impulse buying caused by fancy advertising, item description, or peer pressure.
• Steer clear of the super-sized portions. Opt for regular or even children's sizes. For example, an order of large French fries can contain 500 calories compared to only 100 calories in the kid's size.
•Side salads and fruit make excellent side items.
•Go easy on condiments, sauces, and dressings, as they generally are full of calories and fat. Have them served "on the side" to control exactly how much you eat.
For the breakfast taco fanatic: Let's face it, if you haven't had a breakfast taco while living in San Antonio, then you just haven't lived! Beans, cheese and tortillas; what better way to start your day? As delicious as this menu item is, it doesn't exactly find a place on the list of healthiest breakfast foods. Try these simple suggestions to improve your meal.
•If whole wheat tortillas are offered, choose those! Whole wheat is beneficial because it is not refined, so it contains more fiber and nutrients that your body needs.
•Avoid sour cream. Instead use salsa or a small amount of guacamole to add some new flavors to your taco.
•To reduce salt intake, swap out refried beans for whole black beans or pinto beans.
•Substitute bacon and sausage for lean meats such as Canadian bacon and ham.
•Egg whites or egg substitute products are great options to use in place of meat or whole eggs.
•Load up on vegetables, but choose ones that are steamed or lightly sautéed in a small amount of healthy fat such as olive oil.
•Portion control is a big deal. Choose the smaller taco if possible, or split it with a friend.
•For a healthy breakfast beverage, opt for smoothies made with fresh fruit and yogurt rather than a high calorie and fat beverage like a frappuccino.
For all you in between-ers, these tips can still be applied. Focus on the foods you can eat, rather than the foods you should avoid. Dieting isn't about restriction, but rather modification. For all you snackers out there, find portable, nonperishable foods that can be stored at your desk, in your car, or your bag. Granola bars, peanut butter, crackers, and trail mix make great staples to any snacker's diet, but be cautious of serving size! Pre-portioning can help keep you on track with your diet goals by avoiding temptation or mindless eating. If you have questions or concerns, contact your local Registered Dietitian to schedule an appointment. We are here to help you be successful!