Dining out successfully in Henry County?
At some time during my typical week I may find myself super hungry, in a big hurry and in my car. If you are like me you get tempted to stop at a fast food restaurant, and you are not alone.
Restaurant and Foodservices sales are projected to reach a record high of $660.5 billion this year. The sales projection represents a 3.8 percent increase from 2012 in current dollars according to the National Restaurant Association.
So to help you make informed decisions this week here are some facts to keep in mind: A super-sized soft drink (42oz) contains 136 grams of carbohydrates which is equal to 34 teaspoons of sugar, an Oven Roasted Strip Meal (3 strips, green beans, seasoned rice) contains 2410 mg of sodium.
Keep in mind that the 2010 guidelines are encouraging us to reduce sodium to less than 2,300mg, and <1,500mg for those >51years, African American, hypertension, diabetes or kidney disease.
Can we eat out but still be healthy? This is a continuous question, and I say YES! Here are five tips that will help you find lower calories, fat and sodium:
1. Choose restaurants that offer heart-healthy menu choices. Review the menu ahead. Don’t be afraid to make special requests. You are the customer and your health is at stake.
2. Control portion size by asking for a smaller serving. Share a meal with a companion. Plan on taking some home. Ask for the take out container as soon as your meal comes. Ask for portions to be placed in side dish servers, like butter, gravies and salad dressings.
3. Ask how the food is prepared. Ask that salt not be added to the cooking. What are the special ingredients? Can something that is fried be grilled or baked? Request that rich sauces and butter be served on the side for portion control.
4. Ask to substitute a salad, fruit or baked potato for chips, fries or other extras. Or ask that the extras not be served and ask for a discount.
5. Ask your server to recommend the best broiled, baked, steamed or grilled choice – then order it.
What is Henry County Community Health doing in our area? NEMS-R stands for Nutrition Environment Measurement Survey – Restaurants; and its goal is to help restaurant owners identify and better promote their healthy menu choices.
The scoring of this point system encourages whole grains, 100 percent juice, baked chips, reduces portions at a cost difference, nutrition information, icons to identify the healthier food choices, entree less than 800 calories, less than 30 percent from fat and less than 10 percent from saturated fats.
Short Stop, Tazza Bella, Mt. Pleasant Golf and Country Club have met all criteria and the high standards of “Your Plate. Your Health.”
These restaurants are committed to providing and promoting healthy food options so that individuals and their families can receive a nutritious meal while dining out. Fighting obesity is a community-wide effort and their work to improve the health of our citizens is appreciated.
Look for the label that says “Your plate. Your health,” at restaurants you dine at in the area.