How to Eat Out and Understand Your Nutrition Intake From the Restaurant Nutrition Menu

If you’re in any way involved with food, you can’t ignore nutrition these days.Whether you’re a food manufacturer, in food service, a school, residential home, or other public domain, it is important that you consider a Nutrition Menu.Nutrition is a complicated science that your customers and staff are really interested in. But it’s also a legislative minefield and very easy to get wrong when you don’t have the necessary expertise at hand, so always take advice from a nutrition advisor.I have visited many of the fast food restaurants websites and they all contain a nutrition menu, offering advice and detailing the nutrition contents of their meals. Therefore, you can eat out and maintain a balanced diet.Stay Balanced
o Lifestyles these days tend to mean that people are less physically active but still enjoy a plentiful choice of food.
o To keep your weight stable you need to balance your calorie intake with the calories you burn.
o Eating well and being active can help achieve that whilst helping you to feel fit, concentrate better, manage your stress and mood more effectively and look after your health in the long term.Eat Well
o Eat a combination of the main food groups in healthy proportions.
o Plenty of fruit, vegetables, bread, other cereals and potatoes.
o Moderate amounts of meat and dairy foods, and smaller amounts of foods high in fat or sugar.
o This combination helps you to get the energy and nutrients you need whilst allowing you to enjoy the variety and pleasure of good food.
o It is all about getting the balance right.
o You can eat out and still achieve the balance if you take note of the restaurants nutrition menu.Fruit and Vegetables
o Enjoy at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day to get the vitamins, minerals, fibre and beneficial antioxidants.
o A “portion” is 80g of fruit and vegetables which could be an apple, pear or orange for fruit and 3 heaped tablespoons of fresh frozen or canned vegetables.
o You could also have a cereal bowl full of salad or mixed leaves, or a 150ml glass of fruit juice.
o Be inventive and consult the nutrition menu.Bread, Cereals and Potatoes
o Pasta, bread, rice, potatoes, some breakfast cereals, couscous, chapattis, noodles and pulses are good energy providers.
o Include whole grain or wholemeal varieties for extra fibre and nutrients.
o Make these foods part of your meals so they make up about a third of your diet.
o To keep the balance, don’t add too much butter, oil, margarine, dressings or rich sauces, and always consult the nutrition menu.Milk and Dairy Foods
o Include moderate amounts of dairy foods such as milk, yoghurt, cheese and fromage frais because they contain calcium and protein that help maintain healthy teeth and bones.
o If you are concerned about your fat intake you could have lower fat options which will be indicated on the nutrition menu.Meat, Fish and Vegetarian Alternatives
o A balanced diet should also include moderate amounts of meat, fish, eggs, pulses, tofu, nuts or seeds.
o These foods contain protein, B vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and magnesium.
o When you can, choose lower fat versions, and low fat cooking methods such as grilling and baking, all which will be indicated on the nutrition menu.Foods containing Fat and Sugar
o This group includes foods such as oils and spreads, ghee, sugary drinks, sweets and chocolate, mayonnaise, cakes, pastries, crisps, ice cream and cream.
o They can be part of your balanced diet if taken in smaller amounts and not too often.
o Oils and spreads should be used sparingly and contain unsaturated fats.
o Again the nutrition menu will guide you on this.Restaurants Meals and Dishes
o The nutrition menu will tell you what proportions of the food groups dishes contain.
o If a nutrition menu is not readily available ask for one, or download from their website prior to visiting the restaurant.Children
o Children under two are growing rapidly and therefore have different needs to older children and adults, such as full fat dairy foods.
o Children between two and five can make a gradual change towards the recommended balance.The Government’s 8 Guidelines for a Healthy Diet
o Enjoy your food.
o Eat a variety of different foods.
o Eat the right amount to be a healthy weight.
o Eat plenty of foods rich in starch and fibre.
o Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
o Don’t eat too many foods that contain a lot of fat.
o Don’t have sugary foods and drinks too often.
o If you drink alcohol, drink sensibly.Balanced Approach
o Keep a food and activity diary to understand your eating and exercise habits. You can use this to plan changes that suit your lifestyle.
o Think about how much you eat as well as what you eat.
o Plan ahead and aim to have regular balanced meals.
o The balanced approach means eating healthy most of the time and fitting in some favourite foods.
o The balanced approach is about establishing eating and exercising habits to be enjoyed – for life.Disclaimer: This is general lifestyle advice only and is not intended to replace any individual advice given by your
doctor, or other health care professional. Always consult your doctor if you are concerned about your health, or before starting any diet or exercise programme.

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