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Health and Wellness Center

February 2009


Eating healthy away from home

Americans do love to eat out. Around 57% of us eat meals and snacks away from home on any given day, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). "So what," you say? Well, two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese and that costs an estimated $117 billion each year. Why so much? Obesity increases the risk of serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. With a busy schedule that may constantly keep you on-the-go, it's difficult to find time to eat healthy on a daily basis. This month’s e-bits offers tips for eating healthy while away from home.

Eating out 101…

1. Choosing a restaurant

Restaurant food is usually higher in calories, sodium and unhealthy fats and lower in nutrients compared to home-cooked food. Restaurants also serve larger portions, meaning we often eat more when we eat out than we do at home. By following these simple tips, you can cut down on excess calories and make healthier choices.

  • Avoid places that lure you in with dessert carts or all-you-can-eat or buffet-only specials. Look for places that offer a variety of foods. Try going Asian or vegetarian for different, tasty selections.

  • Skip the burger and pizza joints, instead look for places that offer fruit, yogurt, soup, sushi, and sandwiches or wraps. If you're stuck with fast food, check to see if healthier options are available, such as salads, fresh sandwiches or yogurt.

  • Look for a place that offers menus with nutritional information.

  • Don't wait until you're starving to find a place to eat. You'll be more likely to walk into the first place you see, regardless of the kind of food it serves. Plan ahead; buy an apple, some nuts, or other healthy snack to tide you over.

2. Talk With Your Server

Don't be hesitant to ask your server how particular foods are prepared or what ingredients they contain. In a service driven industry, most restaurants want to make sure the customer is happy so they keep coming back - make sure you take advantage!!

  • Ask what kinds of oils foods are prepared with or cooked in.  Stick with monounsaturated oils (olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil) and polyunsaturated oils (soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil).

  • Ask whether the restaurant can prepare your food to order – for example, by leaving off or going very light on dressings, butter, cheese or other high-fat items.  

  • Ask if smaller portions are available or whether you can share entrees with a companion.  If smaller portions aren’t available, ask for a to-go box when you order and place half the entrée in the box to eat later.

  • Ask whether healthy substitutions are possible.  For example, if a dish comes with French fries or onion rings, ask whether you can get a baked potato with vegetables, and low-fat or fat-free sour cream or soft margarine on the side.  Instead of mayonnaise-laden coleslaw, ask if you can get a small salad, fruit or vegetables instead.  Although some substitutions may cost a little extra, the health benefits are well worth it.

3. Choose wisely

Fat has twice as many calories as an equal amount of carbohydrate or protein. Fried chicken or fried fish and fries get about half of their calories from fat. Such a meal could easily add up to 1000 calories, more than half the total daily calorie requirement for many adults!

  • To avoid unhealthy and high-calorie fats, choose steamed, poached, broiled, baked, grilled, or roasted foods over deep-fried.

  • Pass on gravies and sauces. If you have a salad, ask for dressing on the side.

  • Limit appetizers, bread and butter, and other fillers. If you must have something before your main meal, order a light soup.

  • If you like wine at mealtime, have it with your main dish. Stick with water while you're waiting.

  • For dessert, try herbal tea or decaffeinated coffee. If you just can't resist dessert, order something with fruit and split it with a dining partner.

  • If your order is way too large, you don't have to finish it. Ask for a "doggie bag" and make another meal of your leftovers the next day.

  • If you see something on the menu that interests you, ask the waiter how the dish is prepared. Ask if you can request healthy substitutions (baked instead of fried, olive oil instead of butter).

When you can’t help it…

Here are some healthier options when visiting those tempting fast food restaurants that will save you calories without feeling hungry!

10. Burger King TENDERGRILL Chicken Garden Salad(Salad without dressing: 230 calories/ 8g fat/ 11g carbs/ 3g fiber/ 3g sugars/ 720mg sodium/ 32g protein) 9. Taco Bell Fresco Style Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco(170 calories/ 4g fat/ 20g carbs/ 2g fiber/ 2g sugars/ 560g sodium/12g protein)

8. McDonald's Apple Dippers with Low Fat Caramel(100 calories/ 0.5g fat/ 24g carbs/ 0g fiber/15g sugars/40mg sodium/ 0g protein)7. Subway Soups - Chicken & Dumpling, Cream of Broccoli, Minestrone, Roasted Chicken Noodle, Spanish Style Chicken with Rice, Tomato Garden Vegetable with Rotini, and Vegetable Beef(90-140 calories/ 0.5-5g fat/ 12-20g carbs/ 1-4g fiber/ 1-8g sugars/ 910-1,230mg sodium/ 3-7g protein)Not all of Subway's soups are great choices (avoid the chili, cream of potato, chicken with brown and wild rice, broccoli cheese, and New England clam chowder).

6. McDonald's Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken(Salad without dressing: 290 calories/ 10g fat/23g carbs/6g fiber/12g sugars/ 890mg sodium/ 31g protein)5.  McDonald's Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream Cone(150 calories/ 3.5g fat/ 24g carbs/ 0g fiber/ 18g sugars/ 60mg sodium/ 4g protein)

4.  Taco Bell Fresco Style Grilled Steak Soft Taco(170 calories/ 5g fat/ 21g carbs/ 2g fiber/ 3g sugars/ 560mg sodium/ 11g protein)3. Wendy's Mandarin Chicken Salad(Salad without dressing, almonds and noodles: 170 calories/ 2g fat/ 18g carbs/ 3g fiber/ 13g sugars/ 480mg sodium/ 23g protein)2. Taco Bell Cinnamon Twists (160 calories/ 5g fat/ 27g carbs/ 1g fiber/ 10g sugars/ 780mg sodium/ 1g protein)1. Subway 6 Grams of Fat or Less Subs, 6" Turkey Breast with Honey Mustard and Cucumbers(310 calories/ 4.5g fat/ 54g carbs/ 5g fiber/ 13g sugars/ 1,130mg sodium/ 19g protein)

Food for thought

Most important meal

When you start the day with a healthy breakfast, you

are more likely to eat well through the day with less

snacking on junk food. If your plans are to eat at the hotel or a nearby restaurant, order hot oatmeal, and ask for raisins or nuts to put in it. If you eat eggs, order them poached for less fat.

Travel ‘lite’

Digestion is more difficult when you are not

following your daily routine. Choose soups...

heartier bean soups offer a good source of protein

and are more filling; lighter soups like miso

will provide an energy and immune system boost. Eat salads to make sure you get the fiber and vegetables you need. If a salad bar is offered, add peas, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, beets and other colorful vegetables for a nutrient rich meal.

Business Meeting

When eating out with business associates, look

for a vegetarian entrée on the menu. Ask your

server after you have checked out the menu.

Ordering in? Even fast food places like Subway

now offer vegetarian subs prepared with whole grain breads. Many restaurants offer veggie burgers to accommodate their customers who follow a vegetarian diet, so the choice of restaurants for vegetarians is becoming more extensive.

For more information on this topic or other wellness topics contact your Wellness Educator.

Sky Harbor: Tanya Belllard 602.365.3512 or

[email protected]

Tempe: Rosanna Alvarez 480.592.1519 [email protected]

Phoenix: Annie Leko 602.231.7746

or [email protected]

Coming in March:

Tour de Café!

Can you distinguish what is ‘healthy’ vs. what isn’t when you visit your Honeywell café? Have no fear, café tours are coming to a site near you!! Join the wellness and Honeywell café staff as they give you helpful hints, healthy tips and service with a smile! Attend this tour and you will receive $1.00 off your meal! But don’t delay, space is limited to 20 associates, so sign up today!

Sky Harbor: Tuesday, March 10, 10:30a -11:30a in the 2103 Cafeteria

Phoenix: Wednesday, March 11, 10:00a - 11:00a in the 503 Cafeteria

Tempe: Friday, March 13, 9:00a – 10:00a in the 1206 Cafeteria