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Healthy eating habits are within reach Special To The Star-news | Sun, Jul 10 2011 12:00 PM

Seventy-three percent — that’s how many adults say that they now try to eat healthier when at a restaurant, reports the National Restaurant Association Here are some tips to help you identify healthier restaurant options:

Keep portion sizes small

You don’t have to eat everything served on your plate.

Share a main dish or take home a “doggie bag.” Order a low-fat appetizer as your main meal. Avoid buffets if you’re concerned about portion control. To see how big a serving size should be, visit http://wecan. nhlbi.nih.gov/tools-resources/ nutrition.htm#portions.

Choose healthier preparations

Look for lean meats, fish, poultry and vegetables prepared in a lower-calorie, lowerfat way and avoid higher-fat preparations. Choose baked, broiled and grilled items more often. Choose foods that are fried, breaded or in creamy sauces less often.

Watch the sodium

Salt — sodium — is often added during food preparation.

For healthier options, you can ask that salt not be added to your meal. Yeast breads, chicken dishes and pizza can be particularly high in sodium.

Ask for dressings or toppings on the side

Any dish— even vegetables or a salad — that’s covered with oil, butter, gravy or high-calorie dressing is probably not the best choice. Asking for dressing on the side can help you limit the fat and calories you consume.

You still have to limit your portions, however.

Hold the bread

Bread baskets are tempting but can add a lot of calories to your meal (not to mention the fat from high-calorie spreads).

Focus on your main entrée instead. If you do have bread, ask for whole-grain options.

Select drinks with little or no added sugars

Check out the surprising amount of sugar in sodas, fruit juices and other drinks at http://wecan.nhlbi.nih.gov/do wn loads/tip-sugar-in-drinks. pdf. Water and fat-free or lowfat milk are healthy alternatives.

Keep dessert light

Rich desserts can send you into fat and calorie overload.Lower- calorie options include fruit, sherbet, fruit sorbet or fatfree frozen yogurt, but it’s still important to keep portions small.

Take control

Lastly, remember that you can ask questions and make changes to your meal. You have more control than you may realize.

For more strategies on how to eat right (as well as how to be more active and reduce screen time), visit the National Institutes of Health’s We Can! program website at http://wecan. nhlbi.nih.gov.

For additional information on eating healthy when on the go, check out the Maintaining a Healthy Weight website at http://healthyweight.nhlbi.nih.gov.

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