Tag Archives: eating out healthy

Healthy Eating Out Guide

With the festive season, there is a lot of eating out- family gatherings, weddings, parties, friends, the inevitable boxes of cookies at the office water cooler. Its a landmine of unhealthy choices. With our party season food guide, you’ll party and stay healthy.

inkyfingerz @ flickr

First of all, don’t repent for wolfing down a heavy platter. Understand that it is human to give into temptations, but be sure to learn from them. We often lose control of our food sensory threshold and overindulge only to feel guilty later.

Here are some easy tips which will never slip off your mind even while you move ahead to place an order with confidence at various eating joints.

Rehearsing a situation in your mind before it happens helps you to arm yourself with strategies, visualize yourself doing them and experience the positive results.

So, let’s start with the healthy food guide for this party season

Order right: Make it a point to always ask for (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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Eat Healthy and Still Eat at McDonalds

Sounds unbelievable, but if you are at a McDonalds and still want to eat healthy, we have a fantastic news for you- You can do it!

The Mexican Chicken Wrap at McDonalds is a tasty and healthy option at McDonalds India. Since its got chicken, it has protein which will help build muscle and burn calories. Its not fried with much breading (the crisp stuff coating the chicken), so its not ridden with bad carbs, and will less breading, it also absorbs less fat. The most amazing part is still not over, which is the bread that it is wrapped in is not made from refined flour! We confirmed this from employees of McDonalds. The wrap bread is made from whole grains! Whole grains are high on fiber, and have a low glycemic index, so they keep you full for longer, so you won’t snack on unhealthy food.

Photo: Burger (debbiedoescakes@flickr)

The wrap is stuffed with crisp vegetables , which seem relatively raw, so they should have some fiber. The down side is that these vegetables are in a sweet, cheesy sauce- So, there is probably some sugar and fat in the sauce.

With the mix of fast dissolving and slow dissolving carbs and protein, this could make a great post workout snack to build muscle.

Overall, its a great tasting wrap. If you’re vegetarian, they also have a Paneer Wrap. Paneer is high in protein and since its a dairy product, it can help reduce belly fat.
So, the next time you’re at a McDonalds, don’t feel guilty about cheating on your diet, and order a Mexican Chicken Wrap or a Paneer Wrap for an appetizing and healthy meal.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Eat Healthy with Italian Food

Italian and Chinese cuisines are probably the most ubiquitous of all cuisines in the world – because they’re delicious, and can be healthy too. We’ve already talked about healthy options in Chinese food.

So, how can you really eat healthy Italian food?

Let’s start with the basics. There are two types of sauces – cheese based sauce and vegetables based sauce (tomato, pesto, garlic, etc.). Cheese, as we all know is higher in fat. Now, fat is not bad, but in a whole dish with cheese based sauce, it adds up to a lot of calories. And the most basic reason why people get fat, is because they consume more calories than they expend.

Besides this, the vegetables based sauces like those made from tomato supply you with lots of lycopene, which has been proven to reduce chances of prostate cancer in men.

Pasta is primarily carbohydrates. Whole wheat pasta is better since it has a lower glycemic index and has higher protein and fiber content, helping you build those muscles, to burn more calories! :)

Eating grilled meat (chicken, fish, red meat) as a main course is also a good option. The meat is high in protein and red meat is high in iron as well. Salmon is high in omega 3 oils. Often, its grilled in olive oil, which has a high content of cholesterol lowering power. The fat from olive oil keeps you full for longer along with the heart healthy benefits of olive oil.

A side dish of mashed potatoes in Italian food is very tempting. Potato is not bad by itself, but mashed potatoes are often loaded with cream and butter to make them soft and delicious. That’s where the hidden calories reside. Besides, a side of other grilled veggies would give you lots of nutrition. And from the grill, they’ve acquired a hint of sweet due to caramelization.

If you love the bread basket, take it easy. Ask the restaurant for whole wheat bread. You’ll be surprised how often they have it, but don’t bring it out!

I have a sweet tooth, so desserts are hard to resist :) But portion control is key. Split a dessert with your friends to minimize the damage. You could also end with a cheese platter with your friends. As a general rule, hard cheese has less fat than soft cheese.

Among the places with healthy Italian food options in Delhi are – Flavours (Defence Colony), Big Chill (multiple locations in Delhi), and any of the nicer restaurants now cater to healthy lifestyles.

Buon appetito!

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Healthy Chinese Food Options

Chomping down on Chinese food while watching the 2008 Summer Olympics at Beijing could seem like the ideal way to pay homage to the host country. Some Hakka Chow, Chilli Chicken, Schezwan Fried Rice and Veg Manchurian…fantastic deliciousness. But if you get on that diet, your body will look more like Mahesh Bhatt than Mahesh Bhupathi.

Nutrition analysis of Chinese dishes show that they are extremely high in calorific value, sodium content, high fat content and high in simple carbohydrates (which behave like sugar in your body). Many Chinese dishes are high on soy, which increases sodium content drastically in the food. Excess sodium leads to increase in blood pressure and retention of water, which increases your weight and makes you look bloated and fat.

So, whats the solution? Clearly, not eating it is a bad solution :) But you can make healthy Chinese food choices while giving your order.

Let’s start with everyone’s favourite… those little steamed eatables called Dim Sum- You think its healthy because its steamed. But Dim Sum is primarily made of maida (refined flour), which causes your blood sugar to spike (watch out diabetics) and promotes fat storage. For starters, go for stuff that’s stir fried, chicken satay, flavored veggies, or a clear soup with veggies and/or meat in it. Or you can skip the starters and go for the main course

The main course is like a mine field of bad health bombs. Stir Fried dishes are good, since they are relatively low on sodium, are cooked fast and in lesser oil (since its not deep fried). Stay away from that Manchurian. First its wrapped in maida (refined flour), then its deep fried. Then its soaked in a high sodium sauce. Is there a better way to spell HEALTH D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R. Basically, stay away from anything that’s served as dough wrapped balls in sauce. All sauces, from Black Bean to Sweet and Sour are drowning in sodium. And some of them have loads of sugar added, like Sweet and Sour or Garlic.

For your starch options, there’s another mine field. The noodles are all made from refined flour and then they are soaked in oil and flavoring (including soy) – you know what that does, so stay away from it. The fried rice is a slightly better option, since its rice based, but again, lots of oil and soy, since rice soaks both of them fast! The best option is steamed rice. Besides, the relatively lower calories, it reduces your sodium intake. Also, it gives you a chance to really taste the flavor of the dishes. Try jasmine rice, it smells fantastic.

In dessert, I’m yet to find a true Chinese dessert. All the standard Indian versions of Chinese dessert are pretty unhealthy- Darsaan (fried dough with sugar), sugar coated walnuts, fried ice-cream. Do I even need to get into why these aren’t healthy Chinese food options. Chinese joints aren’t known for their chocolate based delicacies. Stay off it, even its on the menu :)

Our advice, go for the fresh fruits for a light and a sweet finish. Don’t forget to get some of that green tea or jasmine tea. You know, green tea is good for you.

It takes some questioning the wait staff, to solve the health mystery of a new dish. But don’t be shy – eat this way while watching the Olympics and you’ll be 1 step closer to looking like Michael Phelps. Have you seen the 6 pack he’s got?

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Healthy Mughlai Food

There’s a common myth that to get in better shape or stay in it, you need to eat a diet of steamed, bland, tasteless, sugarless, fat free food. But that’s not true at all. Lets take Mughlai food as an example. When you think of Mughlai food, you probably think greasy deliciousness – no good for you. Again, wrong (about all of it being greasy).

Its about making the healthier choices in it. For e.g. all the tandoori kebabs are high protein and relatively low on oil. They are marinated in some oil to make them moist and help them absorb flavor, but then they are cooked in a Tandoor, with no added fat. Tandoori kebabs are packed with protein. Protein takes longer to digest in our system, thus it leaves you feeling full for longer. Chicken/fish based kebabs are better choices than red meat, since its easier to separate the fat, or often, its just lean meat that’s used for cooking the kebabs.

Even the Tandoori vegetarian is not all bad. In a Tandoor, they get caramelized on the outside, adding that hint of sweetness, making it delicious. While they are still somewhat raw on the inside, so it preserves more nutrients than completely cooked vegetables.

With lentils, its best to go with yellow dal, since the black dal (maa ki dal) is cooked in cream, which loads it with fat. Chana is also a good option, since its got lots of fiber and protein. Raita is yoghurt based, and you know how good yoghurt is for your health.

Feel free to gorge on the raw or vinegar based onions/green chilli (don’t worry about the breath- that’s why we have after mints). Sprinkle lots of lime on your kebabs – it makes them moist and delicious, along with adding all that Vitamin C, which helps to build immunity.

What you want to avoid is the curried and masala rich food- like the butter chicken, kadai meat, etc. They have high fat content from the cream and oil that is used. And its saturated fat, so its the kind that clogs your arteries and raises cholesterol and blood pressure. Also, avoid kebabs that are made from mince meat like sheekh kebab. Mince meat often has a lot of fat in it and the cooking process also uses some, so these kebabs are loaded with calories. The Naan is mostly made from refined flour (maida) which basically has the same effect on your body as sugar.

The next time you hit that Mughlai food joint, use this guide to decode your healthy options and you should be set!

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo