Making Healthy Choices When Grabbing a Bite Outside Home

Making Healthy Choices When Grabbing a Bite Outside Home

Healthy Choices when Eating Out

Healthy Food to Eat Out: Bit Arty, Nothing Grandiose

Healthy eating, healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle are all targeted towards maintaining Prana, Tejas and Ojas and any of these can’t do without the other. These are the three basic life forces that create the basic hydrocarbon bonds of existence. It derives from the sensory perceptions the elements for creating life. They also control all our sensory and motor actions. You eat wrong and you throw them out of balance.

That places the importance of avoiding a few things while eating in a restaurant – even in a fast food joint. Commercial food often contains xenobiotic compounds as taste and/or flavor enhancers that add to the oxidative damage done by regular stress, lack of movements and inadequate rest.

Let’s see who does what in the commercial food segment.

A List Of Ills in Outside Food:

Let’s start with natural toxins or antinutrients. These are enzyme inhibitors (blocks trypsin and other enzymes from functioning and hampers protein digestion), large and tightly folded proteins that survive ordinary cooking processes. They are a large cause behind serious gastric distresses, protein deficiencies and chronic conditions arising out of bacterial and/or viral infections. High levels of trypsin-inhibitors make the pancreas grow and undergo pathological conditions including cancer. Soybeans are high in these, so avoid soy-based recipes. That will also help staying away from haemagglutinin, a substance that makes red blood cells clump and clot. Those advocating for tofu and bean curd: These are relatively low on growth depressants but not entirely free. There are also a few more like gluten (protein in the soy; also found in wheat, rye, mustard etc.), goitrogens (substances depressing thyroid functions) and phytic acid (as phytates; blocks uptake of essential minerals - calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc); overall, AVOID soy. Must you go for it, consume meat alongside; it will neutralize the phytate’s mineral-blocking effects. The traditional Japanese way is the best to follow in this aspect: A small amount of tofu (or miso) to accompany two or more fish and meat preparations.

Next come nitrites, often a large part of the oh-so-healthy cold cuts and lunch meats. These are potent carcinogens that give the meat its pink tone. It forms the toxin lysinoalanine during its alkaline processing. Many of the artificial flavorings contain it, the most common being MSG or monosodium glutamate. The Chinese cuisine is full of it. To stay safe, double check with the waiter on the ingredients used for a particular dish, especially the appetizers. Many come fried, so restricting consumption shall help avoid considerable amounts of unnecessary calories and therefore, fat.

Healthy Choices When Eating Out:

  • Don’t go whole hog on dishes made with ghee, including breads or naan-s soaked in butter.
  • Meat is better when its chicken or seafood; beef, lamb and mutton are heavier varieties and gets you full of saturated fat.
  • Try going for vegetable dishes that has less potatoes into it and more of cauliflower, peas, tomatoes etc.
  • Opt more for baked products.
  • The oil used in making a dish is vital. Sunflower and Safflower oils are the best; next is canola oil.
  • GO FOR TANDOORI-s! The privilege of cooking something in a tandoor is it will have a temperature high enough to kill germs yet low enough to preserve the food values. Besides, it is low on oils and fats and thus, less taxing to your tummy.
  • Choose at least one vegetarian item made with lentils, beans and green vegetables. They shall counterbalance the effects of additional colors and flavor enhancers while providing the necessary fiber. 
  • As for desserts, it is best to avoid them. If you cannot, go for something fruits and rice based. 

Keep Up The Good Job:

Choosing the healthy eating out options doesn’t need you being a nutritionist; it proves a less daunting task if you keep the above points in mind. Just plan to avoid too much of saturated fat and gluten and there’s nothing that can throw you on ground during the festive seasons.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad