How to Dine Out and Stay Healthy

What these researchers have discovered about junk food is impressive, from a health perspective (bad): every quick breakfast, lunch or dinner contains more than 1,750 milligrams of sodium.

To put these findings in perspective, it should be borne in mind that the US Food and Drug Administration's new guidelines recommend that a person does not consume more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium - throughout a day. Would you be shocked to tell you that more than half of 6,500 individual meals (57 percent) contain sodium more than 1,500 mg daily?

Lots of salt

How much sodium does the human body really need in one day? Only about 500 mg. However, experts estimate that the average speed of ingestion of Americans ranges between 6,900 mg and 9,000 mg sodium per day.

Since a teaspoon of salt contains about 2000 mg of sodium, it means that the average American descends to 4 1/2 teaspoons of salt every day! If a high sodium diet can make you feel bloated, what should these people feel?

Hazardous substance

For people who are allergic to sodium, such as those with a family history of high blood pressure, people with diabetes, African Americans, and the elderly, the accumulation of too much salt in the body can be particularly risky - for example Increased access to heart disease, the main killer. Add to that the fact that about half of people with high blood pressure do not even realize they have high blood pressure - and in Houston, we have a problem here.

Consume less sodium in restaurants

Now that you know that restaurant food is particularly loaded with piles of sodium, it may be time for us to review the advice from the American Heart Association (AHA) to reduce sodium intake when eating out:

Learn about low-sodium foods, and look for them in the menu.
Ask to prepare the dish without salt.
When ordering, be specific about how to prepare your food.
Do not add salt to your food. Instead of a salt shaker, access the pepper shaker.
Order fresh lemon and squeeze the juice on your dish instead of using salt. (Lemon juice is fine with fish and vegetables, for example.)
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As always, we must also keep track of calories and fat when eating out. What should be your daily goal for calories and fat? The American Farming Association now recommends that most adults, in addition to reducing sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, do not consume more than 2,000 calories and 20 grams of saturated fat (the type that blocks the arteries) every day.

Healthy options are possible - even at McDonald's (sort of)

So, how are you supposed to walk around the unhealthy meals being eaten by many food establishments today? If you find yourself in a McDonald's restaurant, for example, what can you do to stay healthy? The WebMD Medical and Health News Publisher publishes a clear guidance on fatty offerings and goes with Egg McMuffin, a total

300 calories
12 grams of fat (5 grams of saturated fat)
2 grams of fiber
Protein that should help you feel comfortable for hours
But ... Please be aware that McMuffin stumble into the sodium section, containing 820 mg of things, or just over half the daily limit of 1500 mg.
Even in Burger King (kind of)

In Burger King, you can choose eggs and cheese Croissan'wich, which provides

• 320 calories

• 16 grams of fat (7 grams of saturated fat)

• 11 grams of protein to keep your hunger in the bay

But like McMuffin, the sodium content in Croissan'wich is still very high: 690 mg.

If you order a lunch at Burger King, the Chicken Paget Sandwich will provide you with 350 calories and 5 grams of fat.

A great source of food information from restaurants

HealthyDiningfinder is a website that works with restaurants and assistant nutritionists to help US followers - and restaurants catering to food - pass or exceed the healthy eating standards. The site offers a selection of restaurants in their area that offer delicious dining options acceptable to nutritionists, while inspiring the restaurants themselves to offer healthy choices.
The site also provides tips on how to decrease the content and consumption of calories, fat, and sodium. In order to meet HealthyDiningfinder's "Sodium Savvy" criteria, for example, an entrée can have no more than 750 mg of sodium, where appetizers, side dishes, and desserts must contain no more than 250 mg.

Playing with HealthyDiningfinder

Here's how I had fun playing with this website:

Go to the search mechanism on HealthyDiningfinder.com and you'll find the search parameters listed in a column down the left-hand side of the page.
Type in your city, state, and zip code. (It's not necessary to enter your exact street address.)
Narrow your search to within 5, 10, 15, 20, or 50 miles of your house, depending on how far you're willing to drive for a meal.
Do not bother choosing a "Price Range" - you might as well see all the restaurant options available out there.
I clicked on only 1 "Cuisine" choice at a time - "American / Family"; "Asian / Chinese"; "Italian"; Fast / Quick, Mexican, Seafood, Other, etc.)
Click the "Apply" button after each of your "Cuisine" choices, take note of the results, and then go back to the search page and unclick your last choice. Choose another type of cooking that you're interested in and click "Apply" again. Repeat as long as you want to keep looking.
I also did not bother to choose any of the 3 Specialties - "Sodium Savvy," "Kids LiveWell," and "Coupons" - because whenever a restaurant popped up in the search results, its specialties were automatically listed below its name and logo.
A couple of surprises
HealthyDiningfinder's search form worked pretty well for me, although it presented me with a couple of surprises. A Hooters restaurant here in Baltimore, for example, proudly listed 7 "Healthy Dining Options" - who knew? And when I searched "Seafood," not a single restaurant turned up, even when I extended the search out to 50 miles. I have to assume that the "Seafood" category was not functioning, since I live in Baltimore, a city that sits right on the Chesapeake Bay and is world-renovated for its piscine delights. Oh - that reminds me of 1 further step:

8. At some point in your search, be sure to click on the last category, "Other." When I finally got around to searching it, several seafood places did pop up - although none was a Baltimore great.

The point is, with a little planning and the help of HealthyDiningfinder, you can indeed find healthy meals when you dine out.

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