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Guard Your Health is a resource for Army National Guard Soldiers and family members. Find health-related tools and information. Hear from fellow Soldiers and Families. Make medical readiness part of your personal mission.

How to Eat Smart At Home and When Dining Out

How to eat smart at home and when dining out image

In this Article:

  • Cook more and eat out less. You’ll eat healthier and save money (and time).
  • Do most of your grocery shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store to pick up veggies, whole-grains, and low-fat dairy.
  • Learn the code words for healthy choices when eating out: roasted, grilled, poached, and steamed.

If you’ve decided to eat healthy, you’re on the right track. Eating well can help you meet readiness requirements and avoid serious health problems.

To help make your goal a reality, try cooking more at home, planning ahead for grocery shopping, and making smart choices when eating out.

Eat In

Eating out makes a dent in your wallet and adds inches to your belly. Talk about a bad one-two combo.

The large portions and high calorie content of meals and snacks purchased on-the-go or in restaurants is where you can get into trouble.

Instead, try cooking a large batch of your favorite recipe on your day off (double or triple the recipe). Freeze portions in individual containers to take with you to work or have dinner made when you get home.

For healthy food substitutes, check out these ideas or these recipes.

Plan Ahead for Cheaper (and Faster) Grocery Shopping

Stock up on healthy, inexpensive groceries. Save time and money by making a menu for the week and a shopping list to go with it. Buying only what you need will help save money and reduce unhealthy temptations at home.

While shopping your mission is to try and spend most of your time around the perimeter of the grocery store (aka: spend less time in the middle aisles). Pick up veggies, fruits, whole-grains, low-fat dairy, and meat, fish, and poultry.

Dining Out Done Right

Eating out can be healthy when you learn the code words for healthy and unhealthy dishes.

Avoid

  • Fried, breaded, creamed, sautéed (these words signal high-fat foods)
  • Creamy soups
  • Stuffing yourself with bread—one roll will do
  • Liquid calories (think: cocktails, wine, beer, and soft drinks)

Try

  • Roasted, grilled, poached, or steamed foods
  • Broth-based soups instead of cream-based
  • Dressings and sauces on the side to drizzle on top
  • Eating until you’re full (not stuffed!) and taking the rest home

Most importantly, enjoy your food. Whether eating in or out, chew slowly, savor the flavor, and taste the victory of success.

Want More?

Check out Guard Your Health’s tips for eating healthy during drill weekend.

Find smart food choices nearby with Healthy Dining, a free website that searches menus by zip code.