Use These Principles To Eat Healthy At Restaurants
Article At a Glance:
• Restaurants usually serve foods that are low in quality and high in pesticides, making it very difficult for children with compromised immune systems to eat healthy.
• Since it's near impossible to avoid eating out altogether, use these guiding principles to help you discern the best food choices.
Eating out is not very good for us. Not only is it expensive (a study found that the average American eats out 5.9 times a week!), but portion sizes are often gigantic and added sugars, ingredients that are hard to pronounce, and chemicals abound in foods served at restaurants. This is a problem for anyone concerned with eating healthy, but most especially for families of children with autism who are seeking to help them heal their gut and live up to their potential.
Still, it's hard to deny there's something exciting about going somewhere to eat as well. We all seem to enjoy it, and for adults, that's one less meal we have to cook, dishes we have to clean, etc. It's nice to be waited on. Also, life gets busy, and even though we are always striving to prepare good food at home, as parents we know that doesn't always happen. So while I don't suggest you make eating out a regular habit, as a single dad, I understand that it's part of life and not something that can be avoided completely. With that in mind, here are some guiding principles to help minimize the damage and make the best food choices possible while out to eat:
NEVER Order From A Kid's Menu
Without fail, the kid's menu at restaurants is full of garbage foods that really are the worst of the worst: macaroni & cheese, hot-dogs, crappy burgers, french fries, etc. It's very upsetting that the lowest quality foods are marketed specifically to our children, so as their greatest advocate, we as their parents need to do better for them and redirect their attention to better options.
Keep It Simple
One of the most difficult things about eating healthy at restaurants is that we don't know exactly what's in the food (especially with creamy sauces and complicated recipes). Therefore, it's best to keep it simple and opt for a dish that has a protein, vegetable, fat, and fruit. For example, if eating at a Mexican restaurant, a good option would be chicken fajitas with a corn tortilla burrito and avocado. Corn is better than flour, and while this meal still is genetically modified and likely contains pesticides, it's much better than a hot dog and onion rings (once again, the goal is to minimize damage).
Go For Lean Meats
When ordering protein at restaurants, opt for the leaner meats (like chicken and fish). The reason is that the chemicals and hormones found in conventionally-raised cows accumulate in their fat deposits, so the fattier cut you get, the more toxins you're consuming. If you do choose to order a darker meat, go for the leanest cut possible.
Fast Food Dining
If restaurant eating is bad, then fast food restaurants are really bad. But again, I know it's part of life, so let's talk about how to do it healthier:
First off, don't be fooled by the typical sandwich restaurants. Places like Subway and Jimmie John's are certainly better than McDonald's, but that's a low bar to clear, and the truth is that these kinds of sandwiches are not as healthy as they are marketed to be. Thankfully, there are better options: restaurants like Chick Fil A, Boston Market, Chipotle have things on the menu like grilled chicken nuggets, fresh salads with chicken, rotisserie meat, and cut-up fruit.
*This website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by a healthcare professional.
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