Food companies make decisions about the ingredients in processed and restaurant food before your food even reaches your table. That’s why the American Heart Association launched the Outsmart Eating Out Contest in honor of American Stroke Month and National High Blood Pressure Education Month. We asked you to show us how you #EatSmart with tips, tricks and hacks.
And the winners are ...
Act like a kid. When child and adult menus have similar items, opt for the kid’s size to get a smaller portion. Order a small salad with vinaigrette or a lemon wedge to complement your meal. – Donna Bates, Atlanta, GA
Donna makes a great point. Smaller portions can mean fewer calories, less sodium, less sugar, and less saturated fat than a larger portion. And, by ordering a salad on the side, you are eating the delicious, colorful vegetables you need. The dressing can make a difference, and lemon wedges are almost always available from the waiter or at the drink station. “Most of the time, restaurants have lemons for tea.” Donna said.
Want to help make the kid’s menu even healthier? Take action today by writing to CEOs of restaurants and ask them to prioritize healthier options.
Be prepared. If you know you’re going to eat out, visit the restaurant’s website in advance, decide what you’ll order and stick to your decision. Spotting the healthier options are even easier now that all chain restaurants provide and access to detailed nutrition information. – John Katic, Perryopolis, PA
John advises that what is equally important to deciding your order in advance is deciding when you’re not hungry. And, since he decides ahead of time, he doesn’t feel pressure to study the menu and stall the ordering process when at the restaurant itself. “When I order I stick to what I've studied,” said John.
Now that chain restaurants provide calorie counts on their menus and access to detailed nutrition information, you can take a look in advance and compare options! We want to thank the hundreds of you who have fought for menu labeling over the last year. Hundreds of you sent letters to the Food and Drug Administration, and hundreds more spread the word on social media on the importance of the law.
Go first. When eating out with a group, order first so you aren’t tempted by what someone else orders. You might even start a healthy ordering trend at your table. – Deborah Peck, Ooltewah, TN
Ever ordered water to drink simply because the three people before you did, too? Deborah’s hack reminds us that simple actions can make healthy choices the easy, popular choice.
Check out even more hacks from our contest in 2017.
Which hack will you try this week?