BETTER CHOICES AT THE RESTAURANT AND IN THE CAFETERIA   It is not always clear which healthy items to choose when you don’t have your lunch! It is even harder to know what to eat when taking into account a training session or competition during the day. Here are some tips to help you make better choices when eating at a restaurant or cafeteria to optimize your daily intake and performance!
  • Choose restaurants, buffets, or cafeterias that offer a variety of dishes/food. • Choose a balanced meal (refer to blog 2) to better balance your plate, adjust portions according to your hunger, and choose foods you crave while varying your daily intake. • Don’t be afraid to ask the server for what you want: milk vs. cream, light dressing, sauce on the side, smaller quantity of mayonnaise or butter in sandwiches, preparation methods, etc. • Ask questions about portion sizes, if meat is served with vegetables, fries, salad, etc. If the portion seems too big, ask for a half portion. Listen to your hunger and adjust accordingly. • Choose better main dish choices, such as beef, chicken, or grilled fish, brochettes, skinless chicken breast, pasta with meat, vegetables, or tomato sauce, sushi, meal-sized soups, and meal-sized salads with dressing on the side. • Very rich main dishes can upset your stomach before a training session because they are harder to digest—e.g., pasta with cheese or cream sauce, quiche, fried Chinese food (fried chicken, egg roll, General Tao chicken, pineapple chicken, etc.), breaded or fried chicken or fish, seafood with garlic sauce, Caesar salad or other salads prepared with mayonnaise (potato, egg, or macaroni salad, etc.). • Choose sides such as steamed rice, baked potato, pasta with tomato sauce, vegetables, squash purée, and salad instead of fries, Greek potatoes or hash browns, Caesar salad, and fried rice because these foods are easier to digest before a training session and are often a better source of healthy fat, when they contain it. • Avoid distractions while you eat. Take the time to eat, digest, and savour the food on your plate, this will help you better listen to your hunger and feel satisfied with your meal.

HERE IS A TABLE TO HELP YOU MAKE BETTER CHOICES AT THE RESTAURANT OR CAFETERIA

CHOOSE MORE OFTEN

CHOOSE LESS OFTEN

COOKING AND PREPARATION METHODS  
Boiled, grilled, poached, roasted, pressure cooked, baked, braised, charcoaled, BBQ, steamed, sautéed: low fat, Provençal, lyonnaise, Marsala, primavera, marinara Fried, breaded, browned, pan-seared, crispy, au gratin, buttered, fricassee, casserole, parmigiana, Milanese, creamy, Alfredo, hollandaise, à la King, Béarnaise, and béchamel sauce
APPETIZERS  
Vegetables, tomato juice*, consommés*, broth- and vegetable-based soups*, minestrone*, grilled pita bread or whole-wheat bread Cream soups* and broths * (often contain cream or eggs); thick soups, olive plates//platters, pizza, or corn chips
SALADS  
All fruit- or vegetable-based salads, niçoise (ask for the dressing* on the side and opt for salads with protein such as eggs, beans, or chicken) Salads with creamy dressing, Caesar or Greek salad (cheese, mayonnaise, and other foods such as bacon and croutons that increase the number of calories and saturated fat intake).
MAIN DISHES  
Meat, poultry, or fish prepared in a simple way (grilled, roasted, or boiled) such as skinless chicken, fish filets, pork filet, small beef steak trimmed of visible fat (strip loin or sirloin), brochettes; vegetable omelette; pasta served with sauce that is wine-based (marinara), tomato and garlic based (Provençal), or vegetable-based (primavera) Fatty meat, poultry, or fish (fried, breaded, with sauce, in a casserole), pasta, meals in a pie crust (quiches), pasta au gratin, served with sauce containing sausages or other deli meats, cream, or butter
STARCHES  
Baked, puréed, or boiled potatoes; plain rice, couscous, quinoa, rice noodles French fries, hash browns, scalloped potatoes, fried rice, corn chips, or potato chips
VEGETABLES  
All raw vegetables or vegetables cooked without added fat Vegetables au gratin, with butter, in sauce, or fried
BREADS  
Whole-grain breads (preferably), baguette, country-style bread, sliced bread, Melba-type toasts Garlic bread, croissants, rolls
DESSERTS  
Fresh fruit, fresh fruit salad, fruit poached in wine and spices, homemade fruit compotes, angel food cake, ladyfinger cookies, pudding (rice or tapioca), sorbets, gelato, frozen yogurt, jello Cakes, pies, French pastries, custards, ice cream
DRINKS  
water, low-fat milk (2%,1%, or skim), herbal tea, coffee or tea (with milk), diet soft drinks, mineral water*, 100% pure fruit juice Cream added to coffee or tea, whipped cream, beer, spirits

And finally, don’t forget that life’s little pleasures are important—everything in moderation!! Chocolate dessert, fresh croissants, and high-fat meals are all part of a balanced diet. Listen to your hunger and cravings, don’t restrict foods you like, and integrate them without guilt every once in a while. Happy training and especially bon appétit.

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