Made-to-Order Restaurant Eating: Hold the Fat | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Made-to-Order Restaurant Eating: Hold the Fat

April 8, 2011

Must See Nutrition Videos

Restaurant and fast food menus are usually loaded with high-fat, calorie-rich foods and meals. Heavy creams and sauces, mile-high toppings and supersized portions can do mad damage to your body. Failing to fuel properly can be problematic when you’re working to maximize your training and achieve body composition goals.

Livestrong.com recently reported that participants who ate fast food a minimum of twice a week gained 10 more pounds than those who ate fast food less often. But rest assured, there are plenty of ways to eat healthy and well when eating out. Chow down on these eight restaurant tips to keep your nutrition—and performance—at a high level.

1. Key in on keywords. Look for foods that are grilled, roasted, baked, boiled or broiled. Stay away from breaded and batter-dipped items and anything fried. University of Maryland sports nutritionist Jane Jakubczak says such foods "come with a heavy price—a lot of saturated [i.e., unhealthy] fat, and that can really weigh down an athlete's performance."

2. Lean out unhealthy proteins [like fried chicken] by removing the skin when possible. Other ways to healthify your meal: for high-fat sides like French fries, request substitutes like steamed veggies, a side salad or a baked potato [without toppings like sour cream, bacon and cheese]. If you're ordering pizza, request half the amount of cheese. Sports nutritionist Cheryl Zonkowski says, "You'd be surprised at how cheesy the pizza really still is, [and] you're cutting out a whole lot of fat."

3. If you don’t know what’s in a dish, ask your server. Don’t hesitate to make requests to keep your meal healthy and lower in fat and other performance-inhibiting ingredients.

4. Avoid cream-based sauces and condiments, like Alfredo and mayonnaise, both of which are high in fat.

5. Fill up on fluids. Water is always a good choice. Unsweetened iced tea or 100 percent fruit juice are also good alternatives. Crave soda instead? Order diet, which gives you some fluid without filling you up with a lot of sugar.

6. If you’re at a fast food joint, order a grilled chicken wrap or a lean hamburger. "Hamburgers themselves aren't terrible," Jakubczak says. It's what's piled on that make them unhealthy. Her advice is to reject high-fat toppings such as bacon, extra cheese and mayo.

7. If you're stopping at a diner, Oakland Raiders nutrition consultant Dr. Liz Applegate suggests breakfast items—such as eggs, pancakes and a side of fruit—as surefire bets. From just a couple of eggs, you’ll get about 12 grams of protein. Add the pancakes and fruit and you'll get plenty of carbs as well.

8. Be cautious about restaurant portion sizes. For instance, one cup of pasta is one cup, which has about 200 calories, 40 grams of carbs and seven grams of protein. But a typical serving of pasta at a restaurant is three cups, loading your plate with three times the aforementioned nutrients. If your meal is huge, share it or put some in a to-go container. Keep portions under control with the following guidelines:

• 4-5 oz. protein source [meat, poultry or fish] = deck of cards
• 1C carb source [e.g., pasta, rice, dry cereal] = tennis ball
• 1 oz. cheese = 4 dice
• 1/4C nuts = enough to fill the palm of your hand

Source:  livestrong.com
Photo:  shine.com

Sarah Gearhart
Sarah Gearhart

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: Duke University Views: 70,557
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 19,026
Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 78,399
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

The Case for Red Meat

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

The Boston Cannons'

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes