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Dietitians Dish: Many healthy food choices now available

By By Lindsay Adams
April 29, 2014 at midnight
Updated April 28, 2014 at 11:29 p.m.


It's that busy time of year: weddings, graduations, summer vacation, and any other excuse to take a road trip.

While these events lead to a lot of fun and celebration, they may also send you into a frenzy wondering how you can maintain a healthy diet and enjoy yourself at the same time. Here are some tips to stay on track outside of the comfort of your healthy home and pantry.

These days, restaurants, including fast-food restaurants, are adapting to the health-conscious consumer by providing healthier food choices. For example, at most fast-food restaurants, you can substitute fruit for french fries.

Many places are starting to offer grilled chicken breast strips instead of just fried. Grilled meat salads are always a good option as long as you stay away from some of the higher fat additions such as croutons, cheese, bacon, fried tortilla strips or cream-based dressings.

At sit-down restaurants and some fast-food establishments, always opt for non-starchy vegetable sides such as green beans, broccoli, carrots or salad, and when possible, ask your waiter if the chef can go easy on the butter.

Try to avoid any fried foods, heavy dressings such as ranch dressing, thousand island or mayonnaise and high-sugar, high-calorie beverages such as soda, juices and sweet tea. Remember terms such as crusted, crunchy and crispy are often synonymous with fried.

Gas stations are also starting to offer more than just chips and candy bars. They typically have a variety of fresh fruit choices and many carry raw vegetable cups or salads in the refrigerated section. Nuts, light popcorn and jerky are also snacks that measure up better when compared to chips or candy.

Snacking along the way in the car is also often tempting. While a few snacks are OK, constant snacking or grazing can really add up, depending on how long your trip is. Keep food stored in the trunk or out of arm's reach.

If you are on the way to some type of celebration, remind yourself that you'd probably rather enjoy some type of treat at the celebration, such as a reasonable slice of wedding cake, rather than wasting those extra calories on mindless snacking.

Lindsay Adams is a registered dietitian with DeTar Healthcare System. Send questions or comments to dietitians@vicad.com.

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