Eating Off Campus (and doing it Healthfully)

February 28, 2011

Eating out is often a treat – at least it was for me when I was at Tufts. Going to Davis and getting a big fat sandwich from Dave’s or a burrito from Anna’s was always exciting and a definite departure from the delicious (yet sometimes repetitive) food available at the dining hall. But, dining out can also be hard to do in a healthy way. Sometimes, I felt like I had to throw out any attempt at being healthy in order to get a tasty meal out.

But, you don’t… You can still eat a delicious, mouth-watering meal and make it healthy for you. Here are some ways to do that:

Sandwiches, Wings, and Burgers:

  • Ask for sauces on the side (yes, even for your wings!)
  • Go for mustard, hummus, or balsamic vinegar instead of mayo or creamy dressing
  • Ask for no cheese, or limit it to one slice
  • Get the whole-wheat bun or bread
  • Substitute lean meats, like turkey and chicken, for beef
  • Spruce it up with avocado, roasted red peppers, and spinach
  • Set on fries instead of a side salad? See if a restaurant has sweet potato fries. Sweet potatoes are packed with potassium and other nutrients.

Pizza and Pasta:

  • Ask for whole-wheat dough or pasta
  • Go light on cheeses
  • Ask for extra veggies, like broccoli and spinach
  • Try tomato-based sauces instead of creamy ones

Mexican and Asian Foods:

  • Substitute lettuce for rice in burritos
  • Get burrito bowls instead of the tortilla
  • Ask for extra veggies
  • Get sauces on the side
  • Try brown rice, if available
  • Go for the steamed vs. fried options, like with dumplings

All Foods:

  • Get a doggy-bag. Portion sizes can be large, and it isn’t always what is in the meal that is unhealthy, but rather how much there is of it. So, ask yourself when you’re full and take a doggy-bag home with you so you can enjoy the meal for lunch the next day.
  • It is becoming okay, these days, to ask about how things are cooked. So, don’t be afraid- if you’re wondering if the roasted vegetables are cooked in butter, just ask. Your waiter or waitress has probably been asked before and it usually possible for the kitchen to cook it in olive oil or just use less butter. The method of cooking can contribute a lot to added calories.

At your next meal out, try one or two of these suggestions. You’ll be surprised that the food will still taste good, but will have better nutritional value than the normal alternative.

Entry Filed under: Nutrition. .

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