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31 Days - March 4: Red Flags

Friday, March 04, 2011

Today, Spark tells us:

Know your "red flag" menu words. Avoid restaurant items described as: battered, bottomless, breaded, buttery, cheesy, country, creamy, crispy, fried, giant, loaded, smothered and stuffed.

Does anyone else think it's ironic that those words, no doubt used by the menu writers to make us CHOOSE the foods they are describing, are the very descriptions of foods we are being warned against? Sigh... I will be the first to admit those words sound so darn good.. But here on this journey, though there might be a rare occasion when we can choose foods described like this, most of the time we must resist.

But the good thing is that in today's world, restaurants have become more conscious of those of us who would like to walk into their doors and eat a good healthy meal. So I think you'll find words like grilled, baked and broiled right along those "bad" words.. I rarely go into a restaurant and can't find something fairly healthy to eat.

Unfortunately, though, it is not the words we see on the menu, but the words we don't see that often are the killers. Mostly, I'm thinking about sodium. Have you ever gone to a restaurant, ordered a meal you think is pretty healthy, then gone home and checked their website for the nutritional value of what you have eaten? I promise you, the most eye-popping number will be the sodium, many times more than the 2300 mg we are supposed to have DAILY. Oh, and that is without regard to new research I've seen that says those of us over 50 are supposed to restrict ourselves to 1500(!!) mg per day.. I do love restaurants that give you the nutritional value while you are there, then you can make the best choices. But many will not do that, out of fear, no doubt, that a certain percentage of folks would not walk in their doors again if they saw the nutritional facts of the food on their menus.

So do your best to pick the most unprocessed foods you can. It can still be good, but stay away from the sauces and the fancy dressing on your salad.. and you should be okay..because in my book, any meal I don't have to cook for myself is an awesome meal!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    It's so true Tina! The sodium figures are just nuts in prepared and processed foods!! I've been trackin my sodium and it is horrible how high that number is most days and I'm eating decently. Throw in one meal out and wham! sky rockets!
    3559 days ago
    Good pt.
    Same thing for Fat. That's my thing with the cholesterol. I was looking at the "fresco" menu for calories, but when I checked fat totals.. interesting comparisons.

    I think the best "word" to look for is FRESH... if they don't cook it or process it, we stand a much better chance.

    3559 days ago
    I know what you mean about sodium. That is my one main "trouble" area. Thanks for sharing!
    3559 days ago
    Good advice. But I find many things that are even less processed in restaurants are still covered in butter (which has salt) for flavour. Best to cook at home to know what really goes in your food, but then who likes cooking all the time.
    3559 days ago
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