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The Heart-Smart Way to Dine Out

couple eating together

By Dr. Crandall

The vast majority of my patients have one thing in common: they are overweight. And actually, that’s a polite way to put it. In fact, in recent years the rate of outright obesity in this country has skyrocketed.

As a result, the rates of heart disease and the conditions that contribute to it — including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome — have shot up as well.

There are many causes for this obesity epidemic. But one cause that is often overlooked is that, as a nation, we’ve fallen in love with eating out.

There is no other place where an increase in portion sizes — from appetizers to entrees — is more obvious than in restaurants, where meals that once served two or three are now offered on every plate.

Not only that, but when you eat out, you can’t control the ingredients in your food, which is apt to be overloaded with fat, salt, and sugar. It’s best to eat more meals at home and, if you do eat out, follow these simple tips:

  • Be outspoken. Order your fish or meat baked, steamed or grilled, not sautéed or fried. And don’t be shy about sending food back if it’s not prepared as you requested.
  • Ask for salad dressing on the side. Sprinkle it on your salad with a fork, not a spoon.
  • Share a dish with a friend or ask to have half the portion wrapped right away. If you don’t see it, you won’t be tempted to eat it.

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