Grabbing a quick bite to eat on the way home from work might be easier than making a home cooked meal but we all know it probably isn’t healthier. Pew Research Center found that roughly 40% of Americans eat out two or more times per week. Fast food is high in sodium, calories and fat, which is probably why it tastes so good, but is rarely healthy. A study by the New York City Health Department found that of the 6,580 meals they studied, 57% exceeded the 1,500 mg daily sodium level the American Heart Association recommends. Sit-down restaurants don’t fare well either, as studies have shown the average restaurant meal contains anywhere from 800 to 1,500 calories! One study found that eating out more frequently is associated with higher obesity, higher BMI and increase risk of obesity-related diseases.
Our Expert, Dr. Harriet, has helped us compile a few healthy cooking tips.
- Consider baking your meat instead of frying it.
- Incorporate fruits and vegetables into every meal.
- Try fat-free, low calorie dressings on salads and roast vegetables for a change of pace from eating them plain.
- Incorporate whole grains like brown rice, whole grain bread and quinoa or barley to get crucial vitamins and fiber in your diet.
- Include beans and other legumes into your diet for additional fiber.
- Watch your portion sizes – restaurants typically serve double the recommended portion size.
- Invest in a food scale to help you weigh high calorie food items.
- Save your fruit for dessert – that way you get a sweet snack without the calories that accompany traditional deserts.
- Switch to nonfat dairy products to help trim calories – most people can’t taste the difference.
- Purchase a cookbook focused on healthy eating – new recipes can increase your desire to cook and try something new.
Feeling overwhelmed by improvement options? Just start with one or two of the bullets and go from there, after all this is a marathon – not a sprint. If you need additional help you can get customized help setting up a healthy eating plan on JustAnswer.