Home Health CHERYL A. MAJOR: Eating Out, Knowing the Healthiest Choices

CHERYL A. MAJOR: Eating Out, Knowing the Healthiest Choices


Cheryl A. Major is a volunteer contributor to WestfordCAT News. Email [email protected] with news.

This is a perfect topic as I just returned from being away at a conference for about a week.  Although I had a refrigerator and ate breakfast in the room with my usual foods, dinner and lunches with the group were a challenge. What follows are some thoughts and suggestions for eating out whether you’re at a conference or just having a meal out with friends and family.

First of all, you need to be aware you really surrender control over your food whenever you eat out.  If that’s not an issue for you, so be it.  For me, I like to know if what I’m eating is organic, is the fish wild caught or farmed, is anything GMO? If you’re eating meat or poultry, is it pasture raised or loaded with antibiotics and fed gmo feed.  Remember, you are what you eat and you are what they eat!

Do I have control issues?  When it comes to my food supply…yes, I definitely do!!

Second, portion control is a challenge.  The “all you can eat” mentality is a real problem for us here in this country.  Even if it’s a regular serving and not an all you can eat event, the portions are usually much larger than necessary.  It’s in your best interest to eat only until you’re approaching the feeling of full and certainly not until you feel stuffed.  One of my friends has a great practice she uses whenever she eats out.  As soon as her food arrives, she asks for a “to-go” box and puts half her food in that box to take home with her.  That way she’s not tempted to eat the whole thing.  I think that is so smart.

Another concern is what oil the restaurant uses.  Not long ago, I was feeling like having some fries; I’m not perfect you know…I readily admit that.  I asked what kind of oil they used to fry the potatoes.  The person very proudly told me they used canola oil.  Canola oil is a very, very bad choice as it is largely GMO and has a low smoke point, which causes inflammation…I can go on and on.  The buzz about canola oil is that it is a healthy choice.  It is not!  That perception is courtesy of marketing, and it is not true. I bought into that a while back and used to use it myself.  If you are using canola oil, please switch to olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil; they are much healthier choices!  I did not order the fries…

So, what do you order when you’re out for a meal?  It’s a hard question to answer, but for the most part your path needs to be to order what will do you the least damage.  Most of the time, there is no perfect choice.  Salad and sometimes a small amount of some kind of protein is usually the choice I make.  Still, you can’t be sure the salad doesn’t contain GMO ingredients, and you have no idea what pesticides have been used on the greens and the vegetables in that salad.

When you eat out, you surrender control, so just be aware there are no perfect choices.  Learn to enjoy cooking at home…you’ll also save money if you’re not eating out so often!  When you eat out, make the best choices you can and manage your portions.  Sometimes having a couple of appetizers may be the smartest way to go.

Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show Thin Strong Healthy airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com. Cheryl offers ongoing information and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier.  Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor.  She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.

 Questions?  Email Cheryl at [email protected] and be sure to put Health Question in the subject line.  Your question and its answer will be included in a future article.