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Sticking to a Healthy Meal Plan in Special Situations

Here are some tips for healthy eating in challenging situations:

On the go

  • Pack a snack. Single-serve snack packages, with the calories clearly marked on them, are easy to find. A granola bar or a piece of fresh fruit can also be a good snack choice
  • Skip the energy drinks. These are popular, but they're mostly just a lot of caffeine. It's better to "fuel-up" with lean meats, fresh fruit, milk, or a light yogurt
  • Ask before eating. Waiters and waitresses in restaurants can also usually answer questions about what's in the food they serve, so just ask before you order
  • Slow down the fast food. Order a grilled chicken sandwich rather than a fried burger. Opt for salads with low-fat dressings. Hold the sauce, the mayo, and the cheese—and hold off some of the damage, too

Special occasions

  • Avoid mystery meals. If you don't know what's in a dish or the serving size, just ask!
  • Eat like you are at home. If the serving size is larger than you would normally eat at home, share some with a dining partner. Or put the extra food in a to-go container
  • Cut out the extra fat. Ask for fish or meat broiled (instead of fried) with no extra butter. If the food comes breaded, peel off the outer coating
  • Ask for substitutions. Instead of French fries, request a double order of a vegetable. If you can't get a substitute, just ask that the high fat food be subtracted from your plate

Fast food

  • 1000 or more! That's how high the calories in an average fast food meal can run
  • Balance it out. If you're having fast food for one meal, let your other meals that day contain healthier foods, like fruits and vegetables
  • Know the nutritional values. Although there are some good choices, many fast food items are high in fat and calories. So look up the numbers before you order. Many chain restaurants now have them posted on their menu boards

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