I was sitting in on a cooking class at Green Mountain yesterday where Chef Jon was talking about adding flavor to foods. His lively presentation showed how to make healthy eating fun. And his food proves he knows of what he speaks. Interesting combinations of ingredients that are often jazzed up by clever spicing.
At the end of the class, a participant noted that she just couldn’t get up the interest in cooking for herself — she lives alone and is surrounded by really good restaurants. My first response was that you can eat healthfully when eating out. In a good restaurant, there are generally lots of choices that don’t spell trouble for healthy eating. Consider these ideas:
- Go simple. The more complicated a dish, the richer it is likely to be. Likewise, the more items we order, the more we’re tempted to eat. So consider whether you really want an appetizer and an entree. If the appetizer really appeals, can you make it your entree?
- Listen to your body. If you really want the richer dish, remember that our bodies are very good at giving us signals when we’ve had enough…if we listen. Tune into those internal cues. They’re likely to tell you that finishing the whole serving of fettucini alfredo isn’t something your body wants. In general, restaurant portions are enough for a couple of meals.
- Go well-fed. That doesn’t mean to eat right before you go. But you don’t want to skip meals or ‘save calories’ in order to ‘eat what you want.’ All that does is set you up for overeating out of hunger. The fact is, the more well nourished we are over time — that means regularly eating well-balanced meals and snacks that provides our bodies with sustenance — the stronger we will be at making supportive choices when faced with a variety.
- Eat what you want on a regular basis. If you deprive yourself of foods you like, you’ll be more vulnerable to food in general, less likely to be able to resist external cues that call to you to eat richer foods and more of them. Design your daily meals and snacks to include the foods you like. That way, when putting together a special meal, whether it be at home or in a restaurant, you’ll be better able to balance your choices so that you enjoy the meal and enjoy what you feel like after.