Linkedin Twitter Facebook Email Our Blog
Join our mailing list

Posts Tagged ‘ Buffets ’

Restaurant survival guide

Below is my blog post  Restaurant survival guide: 10 tips for healthful dining for Huffington Post. You can also read it HERE.

Restaurant survival guide: 10 tips for healthful dining

Being a nutritionist in New York City, with so many good restaurants on almost every block, so many clients that I counsel eat out more often than they eat at home. Whether dinner parties, business meetings, or just catching up with friends, eating out has become one of our favorite activities. While I always recommend that it is good to cook (or learn to cook) and eat home on occasion, so much of my time is spent coaching clients on how to eat out healthfully in restaurants.

It is possible to eat out and consume upward of 2000 calories in just one meal. However, it is also entirely possible not to break your calorie budget and to eat healthfully while eating out. The key is to be mindful of your food choices and to choose wisely. Here are my top tips for dining out healthfully.

1. Mind your portions. Portions have grown tremendously over the years and it is most noticeable in restaurants. As I wrote in my book, The Portion Teller Plan, many steaks often contain a pound of meat (yes that is 16 oz!), overflowing pasta bowls often hold 3 or more cups, and some sandwiches contain over 1000 calories. However, you do NOT need to eat an entire dish yourself. YOU can practice portion control by splitting an entrée in half and share with your dining partner, wrapping up leftovers, or ordering appetizer portions.

2. Order a salad or vegetable soup to start. Instead of eating the entire bread basket which we often do when we sit down in the restaurant and wait for our main dish to arrive, order a healthy appetizer. A salad with mixed vegetables (order dressing on the side) or a vegetable-based soup is a great way to start a meal. The veggies are fairly low in calories and will fill you up as they are rich in fiber (not to mention healthy).

3. Order dishes grilled, broiled or baked. How a meal is prepared is so important to determining the healthfulness—and calorie count—of the meal. Try to stick with baked chicken or grilled fish, for example. Steer clear of fried dishes such as deep fried chicken.

4. Choose red sauce over cream sauce. We all love eating at our favorite Italian restaurant and we may want to enjoy an occasional bowl of pasta. Besides minding our portions, it is also important to choose the right sauce. Marinara or tomato sauce is relatively low in fat and calories as compared to a cream sauce.

5. Order primavera. Adding vegetables to your pasta dish (or any other dish you can) is a great way to make your portion look larger, boost vitamins, minerals, and fiber content, and help you to feel more satisfied without providing unneeded calories.

6. Order “on the side.” When ordering a salad or fish dish which may appear to be healthy, if the dish contains tons of dressing and sauce, you may be getting hundreds of added calories without even realizing. To avoid this, ask for dressings and sauces on the side. I do not think it is practical to eat everything bland and steamed with no sauce at all. However, if you order your favorite sauce or dressing on the side, you get to control how much you add on and you get a taste of the flavor you like.

7. Skip the soda and sugary drinks. Sodas and other sugary beverages add unnecessary calories to your meal. Opt for water or flavored seltzers instead.

8. Think ONE. If you want to indulge in an occasional glass of wine, think ONE. One drink on occasion is OK for most of us, but as I tell my clients, it is important not to drink several drinks daily. Not only does a lot of alcohol provide unneeded calories (as well as potential health risks), it tends to lower your inhibitions and you may end up overeating without realizing it.

9. Share dessert. It is ok to enjoy an occasional piece of pie for dessert but I suggest sharing it with your dinner companions. One great idea is to order your favorite “treat’ dessert while also ordering a fresh fruit platter. This way you can split both. The fruit adds volume so that you don’t feel deprived ordering just a few bites of pastry or pie.

10. Skip the WHITE (unless it is cauliflower). It is best to skip the white bread products which are refined and devoid of fiber and other important nutrients. Order brown rice instead of white rice, whole wheat pasta or soba noodles instead of white pasta, and limit the white bread and crackers on the table.

And, finally, remember that French fries count as a treat, and not as a vegetable.

Enjoy.

Share |

Healthy holiday tips

Holiday eating tips: how to enjoy a healthy holiday season

With Passover and Easter around the corner, I’ve been helping clients struggle with issues surrounding holiday eating. Holidays are a time for pleasure and enjoyment, family and friends, and food should be enjoyed during this time. Passover, for example, is a holiday focusing freedom and liberation, among other things, and I have, therefore, helped to free clients from challenging eating traps. Whether you are attending a Passover seder, an Easter dinner, or some other festive gathering, follow the principle of moderation. And remember, this is not your Last Supper. Happy holidays!

Here are some tips and tricks so that you can have a healthy holiday season. Enjoy!!

** Watch portion sizes.

Enjoy your favorite holiday treats but take a small portion.

Avoid portion distortion: moderation is key.

Fill up on MORE fresh fruits and veggies. Follow USDA’s  MyPlate guidelines by filling HALF of your plate with fruits and veggies.

** Banish your membership in the “clean plate club.”

Leave a few bites over.  Ask yourself: Am I hungry?

** Be realistic about weight loss during the holidays

Don’t try to diet during the holidays. Try to maintain your current weight. At the very least, now is not a time to begin a diet.

** Don’t go to a holiday festivity starving.

Eat a healthy snack—yogurt, fruit, veggie soup, salad– before a party

** Balance party eating with other meals.

** Don’t skip meals. Make a plan.

** Make only one trip to the buffet table.

Choose only the foods you really want, and keep your portions moderate.

** Move away from the buffet table when socializing.

** Eat your calories instead of drinking them.

Choose your beverages wisely.

Note: Alcohol is high in calories. Moderation is key.

** When you are the host, include nutritious and lower-calorie foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Reduce the fat in holiday recipes.

** Continue a regular exercise program.

** Enjoy good friends and family.

Share |

Rightsize your Plate and your Waist: 11 Portion Control Tips that Work

Below is my latest blog post for Huffington Post. You can also read it here.

Practicing portion control is one of the most difficult tasks facing anyone who eats out or even eats in these days. Look around you and everything is supersized. And not just fast- food. Bagels, muffins, steaks, even frozen dinners have grown in size. And of course we know about the big sodas. Mayor Bloomberg of New York City has proposed restricting the sale of sodas and other sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in many eateries, and the Board of Health is set to vote on the proposal in just over a week. Stay tuned.

I tracked the history of food portions increasing since the 20th century and found that portions are much much bigger than they were in the past, 2-5 times bigger to be exact. And so are people! No surprise. As I wrote in The Portion Teller Plan and in numerous articles, large portions contribute to weight gain because large portions contain more calories than small portions. Simple as it sounds, so many clients that I counsel don’t seem to apply logic to the equation. We know that if a 64-oz Mega Jug of soda is eight times bigger than a standard 100 calorie 8-oz soda, it should contain 8 times the calories. Yes, it contains 800 calories. Simple math?  Yes. But… if WE drink it, we think, how can a soda possibly have so many calories?

Our plates have increased, so have our mugs, glasses, and wine goblets. Our cabinets and  dishwashers are now larger to accommodate our satellite-sized dishes. And, car seats for our kids, who are now pudgier than ever, have also increased. And even caskets have become supersized!

Many of us don’t understand what a healthy portion size is, and for good reason. A pasta portion in a restaurant is easily 3 cups, and many steaks are at least a pound. That is much too much food. The problem is that we’ve gotten used to these jumbo portion sizes and we think that a “portion” is whatever is put in front of us. Getting used to normal sized portions is not an easy task.

Here are some tips:

Practice plate control. For starters, try eating off of plates your grandmother used. Next, change your expectation. Restaurants are in business to sell food, and lots of it. It is time to shift our perspective on what a reasonable amount of food is. If you use a smaller plate, you will probably begin to scale back on your portion.

Fill up on fruits and veggies. We want to scale back on our meat and potato portions and increase our intake of veggies. An easy trick is to fill half your plate with veggies. One quarter of your plate protein (meat, fish, poultry, tofu) and one quarter healthy starch (brown rice, quinoa, barley).

Limit liquid calories. You are better off eating—and chewing—your calories than drinking them. Somehow, when we drink our calories, we do not feel full and the calories we just guzzled down do not seem to register. So…we want more. Eat an orange instead of drinking the juice. And steer clear of empty soda calories—choose seltzer or water instead.

Buy single-servings. Steer clear of the jumbo bags of chips, cookies, and nuts sold at price warehouse clubs such as Costco. We all love a good bargain, but beware when it comes to buying food. While you may want to stock up on toilet paper or paper towels, when it comes to food, buy smaller servings. Single-serve bags of chips will really help you practice portion control while snacking.

Order a small. In many cases you have a choice between a small, medium, or large. Order the small size whenever possible. And don’t be fooled by the label; even a drink labeled small, for example, small can be big.

Avoid your triggers. If you can’t stop at one serving of chips, then don’t even start. Choose a treat you CAN control.

Don’t snack out of the bag. Read the food label, serve yourself one portion, and put the rest away. Practice this for chips, nuts, pretzels and other treats.

Don’t be fooled by health halos. Just because a food is labeled organic or trans fat free doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want. Calories are still calories.

Skip all-you-can-eat buffets. They may be a bargain for your pocketbook, but not for your health. If you must visit a buffet, do a full lap around the buffet before choosing your selection and wear tight fitting clothes (you’ll probably eat less.)

Share, share, and share. Restaurant portions are huge. Order one main dish and an extra veggie dish or salad and share both. And order one dessert for two or three people and you will still feel satisfied.

Eat like a Parisian. Eat slowly, savor your food, and enjoy your company.

Enjoy! Bon Appetit.

Share |

Healthy holiday tips: Happy 4th!

Below is my latest blog post for Huffington Post to help you have a happy and healthy holiday!
Here is the link. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-lisa-young/health-tips_b_1644929.html

Happy 4th!

Holiday Eating Tips: 10 Ways to Enjoy a Healthy Holiday Season

With summer season upon us and the Fourth of July around the corner, I’ve been helping clients struggle with issues surrounding holiday eating. With Independence Day falling in the middle of the week this year, and not sure which weekend to celebrate (license to overindulge), so many people that I have spoken to have decided to make it a 10-day holiday. Holidays are a time for pleasure and enjoyment, family and friends, and food should be enjoyed during this time. Whether you are going out of town, attending a summer barbecue, having a party on the beach, or just staying at home with your family, follow the principles of moderation.

Here are some tips and tricks so that you can have a healthy holiday season. Enjoy!!

1. Watch portion sizes.

  • Enjoy your favorite holiday treats, but take a small portion.
  • Avoid portion distortion: Moderation is key.
  • Fill up on more fresh fruits and veggies. Follow USDA’s MyPlate guidelines by filling half of your plate with fruits and veggies.

2. Banish your membership in the “clean plate club.”
Leave a few bites over. Ask yourself: Am I hungry?

3. Be realistic about weight loss during the holidays.
Don’t try to diet during the holidays. Try to maintain your current weight. At the very least, now is not a time to begin a diet.

4. Don’t go to a holiday party starving.
Eat before you eat: Enjoy a healthy snack — yogurt, fruit, veggie soup, salad — before your event.

5. Balance party eating with other meals.

6. Don’t skip meals. Make a plan.

7. Make only one trip to the buffet table.
Choose only the foods you really want, and keep your portions moderate.

The good news about buffets is that there will usually be some healthy choices. And so often, there will be a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. My rule of thumb: Do a lap around the buffet and sample the choices before making your selection. Take one plate of food (not five mini-plates), and make sure your plate is not piled so high that food is ready to fall off the plate. Eat until you are comfortably satisfied (and it’s okay to leave a little room for your favorite dessert), and enjoy the company.

And finally, move away from the buffet table when socializing.

8. Eat your calories instead of drinking them.
Choose your beverages wisely. Remember that soda, iced tea, and lemonade all have lots of sugar and calories. Flavored seltzer, water, and unsweetened iced herbal tea are great choices.
And remember that alcohol is also high in calories. Moderation is key. Go for a white wine spritzer or a light beer.

9. Be a healthy host.
When you are the host, include nutritious and lower-calorie foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Reduce the fat in holiday recipes.

10. Continue a regular exercise program.
Swim, take a bike ride, or even walk on the beach. Take advantage of being outdoors and choose an exercise you like. What matters most is that you move!

Finally, enjoy good friends and family.

Happy holidays!

Share |

Healthy vacation tips

Developing Healthy Habits on Vacation

Last week, I went away for spring break and was the resident nutritionist in a warm weather resort answering all sorts of nutrition and diet questions. Vacations often take on a life of their own when it comes to maintaining healthy habits. So often, people just “let themselves go” and justify that they are on vacation. And, they end up feeling worse when they return home.  However, it is really ok to indulge every now and then while away, while also maintaining healthy habits overall.

Here are some common vacation pitfalls and tips for how to conquer them:

All you can eat meals/buffets.

Have you ever felt that you paid for something so you want to “get your money’s worth?!” Well, you are not alone. This is very common and often leads people to overeat, and to rationalize about it as well. I deal with this issue so often when I counsel clients.  As I tell my clients, you will get your money’s worth if you eat healthfully and feel satisfied, not stuffed. Good health is your greatest wealth. The good news about buffets is that there will usually be some healthy choices. And, so often, there will be a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. My rule of thumb: do a lap around buffet and sample the choices BEFORE making your selection. Take one plate of food (not 5 mini plates) and make sure your plate is not piled so high that food is ready to fall off the plate. Eat till you are comfortably satisfied (and it’s ok to leave a little room for your favorite dessert) and enjoy the company.

Remember to:

Practice portion control

Fill up half your plate with fruits and veggies.

Take one portion and sit down. Do not pick or eat standing.

.

Lounging on the beach.


Going to a beach resort can be a great way hide away on a lounge chair and curl up with a good book or… it can a great way to get in some exercise too. Since I am a fan of varying your exercise routine, when you are away at a beach resort, use it as an opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking views and to exercise. Taking a long walk either with your travel partner or solo is a great way to get your heart rate moving. Your ipod will certainly come in handy here! If you are a runner, taking a jog on the beach is also a way to break from your usual routine. You are also more likely to take that walk or jog if you are already on the beach as opposed to going indoors to the gym.

Lack of structure. The lack of structure on vacation often throws people’s health routine off. But you can totally turn it around and use it to your advantage. Eat structured meals and eat mindfully. Set aside some time most days to get in exercise. And, since you are away from your usual obligations, you certainly have time. Just, be sure to structure it well.

Enjoy, and have a fun—and healthy–vacation!!


Share |
Visit our Blog lisa.young@nyu.edu © 2017 Dr. Lisa Young