So you’ve decided to make some changes in your diet. You’ve cleaned out your pantry, purchased some heart-healthy cookbooks, and integrated many new healthy techniques into your kitchen routine. But how do you keep up the momentum when you’re eating out at a restaurant?
Here are a couple of easy rules you can bring with you next time you eat out to help you make the best choices for your heart health:

Grilled vs. Fried
Often in restaurants, you’re given an option between grilled or fried meats. This is especially true for chicken or seafood. When eating to prioritize your heart health you should always select the meat that is grilled. Fried foods are often cooked in oils that contain trans fats. Consuming such fats can increase your risk of heart disease.

Water vs. Soda
The first question you get at any restaurant is “what can I get you to drink?” And you may be tempted to ask for your favorite soda, but if you’d like to make some dietary adjustments this is a great place to start. That soda that you tend to order is jam-packed with sugar, and as we know too much sugar can lead to diabetes and eventually heart disease. If you’ve become accustomed to drinking sweet drinks at every meal it may take time to adjust to the change.

Steamed vs. Sauteed
When given the choice between steamed and sauteed vegetables, always opt for the steamed. As with fried foods, sauteed foods are cooked in oil which add unnecessary fat to your diet. Plus, when you’re at a restaurant it’s difficult to know how much and what kind of oil used. Not to mention the fact that steamed vegetables tend to retain more nutrients than those heavily cooked in oil.

Use Sauces Sparingly
One of the hidden enemies to your heart health will come in the form of sauces and dressings. That barbeque sauce you love so much is packed with sugar, and that ranch dressing is actually just 2 cups of mayonnaise, lots of salt, and some spices. Look for menu items that are not doused in sauce, or at the very least request the sauce or dressing on the side.

Going out to eat doesn’t have to throw your whole diet off course, it simply takes a little extra work to prioritize your heart health. What’s most important is that you stop yourself from blindly ordering your favorite items off the menu and consider first how that dish stacks up to your heart health goals. Next time you plan to go out to eat, look online to see if you can find a copy of their menu so you can do your research and choose a healthy option in advance. And, if you need some help determining what is best for you to eat, give us a call to make an appointment with one of our cardiologists.