Love Eating Out? Let’s Make it Plain..

Love eating out, but  not sure how to decipher the menu? Which is healthier…Broiled or baked? Seared or sauteed? Glazed or infused? When you see these cooking terms on the menu are they confusing? Here are a few common food preparation methods that may help you make healthy choices.

 

 

Grilled

Everyone knows this one, grilling involves cooking food over an open flame in a commercial kitchen or the backyard barbeque. This is usually a safe choice as there are rarely added fats or oils used in the process. Look for grilled fish, poultry, or vegetables.

 

 

High Quality ProteinRoasted or Baked

Use dry heat and hot air in the oven or cooked by hot air in the oven or rotisserie. Baked and roasted foods are also good choices and have less added fat than many other cooking methods. Note: Some roasted foods are “basted”, brushed with butter, oils and spices or sauces to maintain moisture and add flavor which can add salt or fat to the dish.

 

Fried

Pan fried or deep fried foods are rarely healthy choices as they are cooked in hot fat which increases fat and calories. Battered and fried foods like fried fish or fried chicken contain even more fat as it is absorbed by the batter.

 

Sauteed and Stir Fried

Both are similar, the only difference is the shape of the pan. Sauteed or stir-fried foods are healthier than fried foods, but still require the use of fats or oils. The degree of health depends on the type of oil used, healthy oils like olive oil or canola oil are better choices.

 

group of friends making barbecue in the garden backyard. friends sharing food and happy moments

Seared and Blackened

Very similar to sauteed but with an even smaller amount of fat or oil. The food is cooked in a hot pan or griddle until the outside is crisp or burned (blackened) and the inside is only partially cooked. Often used with seafood, seared foods can be healthy if the oil used is healthy olive oil or canola oil.

 

Steamed

Cooked over boiling water, steamed foods are an excellent choice as the nutrients aren’t cooked away. Choose steamed vegetables as your side dish, they stay crisp and maintain their color.

 

Glazed

Yes, just like a glazed donut, glazed foods like carrots or ham are covered with a thin sugar coating. Not a healthy option.

 

Braised

The food, usually meat, is first browned or sauteed in a pan and then left to simmer and finish cooking in its own juices until tender. Braised foods are moderately healthy if little oil is used and not covered in gravy.

 

Infused

Infused foods absorb or are filled with flavor or liquids. In the case of infused water, the water is infused with flavors of fruit left in the water. Infusion may involve alcohol, sangria is an example of fruit and wine infusion. Healthy? Depends on the ingredients infused.

 

Smothered

Smothered often refers to foods cooked and or covered in gravy. Chicken, chicken fried steak, pork chops and biscuits are often smothered in gravy. Comfort foods yes, healthy, no.

Lean protein seafood skewersSmoked

Smoked foods, often meats or fish, are cooked and flavored or preserved by exposure to smoke from burning wood. The smoking process may be harmful, consider other options if available.

Are Quick Crash Diets The Answer?

Crash dietLose 20 pounds in two weeks! While conceivably possible, a crash diet with results like these would leave you severely weak and depleted. There is nothing healthy about a crash diet and they don’t work for long-term weight loss.

You will lose weight quickly in the first days or weeks of your crash diet, but your body will soon rebel against the severe dietary restrictions and either shutdown or slow down until you replace its energy stores (fat). Often this “rebound” weight gain is greater than the amount you lost.

The negative effects of your crash diet don’t stop there, they also include dehydration, a weakened immune system, fainting and a slower metabolism. More severe side effects can include heart dysrhythmia and organ failure starting with kidney failure. A very high price to pay for that 10-20 pound rapid weight loss.

Beyond the physical side effects, crash diets also have psychological consequences and increase your risk of developing eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia and bulimia are serious disorders often requiring clinical treatment.

How crash diets work and then fail. Your body requires a minimum number of calories to survive and function, this is your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR. Consume fewer calories than you require and your body must burn stored fat as fuel which is how body fat loss works, healthy or otherwise. Small regular calorie deficits combined with exercise to increase your BMR will result in healthy gradual weight loss. But a crash diet requires severe calorie restrictions.

Crash diets require you to starve yourself of calories which also starves your body of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals your body needs to function. At first, your body will draw these nutrients from your body including from stored fat, muscle and bones. Eventually, the vitamins and minerals are no longer available and you may begin to experience severe hunger, dizziness, headaches followed by heart palpitations and arrhythmias.

 

Your crash diet has now threatened your health. Your body reacts to your starving yourself by severe cravings to encourage you to eat. Your body also releases hormones to salvage and hold any remaining fat stores. Your body has moved from fat burning machine to fat storage machine, this combined with induced cravings for fat, sugar and calories will cause the inevitable rebound weight gain and may explain why you often gain more weight than you lost.

 

Healthy weight loss. Safe and healthy weight loss comes through healthy eating habits that provide you with the nutrients your body needs, combined with regular moderate exercise. You will remain in good health while you lose fat and the weight loss will be permanent if you continue with your healthy lifestyle.

 

Slow and steady wins the race…