I have ten pretty simple rules that can help you make it easier to eat well, eat healthy and enjoy life.
No. 1 - Go out to eat, but when you go out, enjoy it.
Don't just eat out because there's no time to cook. Eating great food takes a bit of advance planning and being “trapped” into not cooking for yourself is the easiest way to end up eating food that's not so great tasting and not great for you.
When you do go, pick a restaurant before you go that you know will have great food.
No 2. - Stop going out so much.
Eating out is so easy now. Lots of patients tell me that they eat out more often than they have dinner at home. The key to being healthy is to begin making your own food and cooking from fresh ingredients.
This takes a little planning but there's so many great resources available. While there's plenty of recipes on the Dr. Gourmet web site there are also hundreds of thousands of great healthy meals to be found on the Internet and most of them take less than 30 minutes to cook.
That's less time than it takes to drive to most restaurants or even order in a calorie-dense but nutritionally empty pizza that tastes like the cardboard box it was delivered in.
No. 3 - Don't eat fast food.
Just don't. Just stop going to McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and any place like them. If the restaurant you go to doesn't make food fresh, don't go there.
I believe that in spite of what McDonald's would have you think, they and the fast food chains like them are responsible for the obesity epidemic. There's not much of anything on their menus that's very good for you. Most everything that is available is pre-made in a factory somewhere and not a lot different than what you find in a frozen TV dinner.
The research is clear that it's just as cheap now to make your own food. Not only is the meal less expensive, there's great evidence that you'll pay less in doctor's bills later.
No. 4 - If you do have to eat fast food, check out the lists on the Dr. Gourmet web site first.
There's a lot of info that will help you make better choice. These files can be downloaded as PDF documents so you can print them out and take them with you to the restaurant.
No. 5 - Don't go out to eat without a plan.
This is not much different from how to eat better in general. One of the easiest places to get tripped up is not thinking about where or what we're going to eat. If you have a plan, then it's more likely that you won't be needing to go out anyway.
The other five rules deal with decisions you make once you are in the restaurant. More on this in next week's Dr. Tim Says… column.
Eat well, eat healthy and enjoy life.