Good nutrition and health can be found eating out
by Alan Reed
Oct 04, 2006 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marsha Parker demonstrates just how bad “one soda per day” is.  After one month, the sugar content adds up to 11 ½ cups.
Marsha Parker demonstrates just how bad “one soda per day” is. After one month, the sugar content adds up to 11 ½ cups.
Today’s hectic lifestyle leaves little time for home-cooked, nourishing meals, though Christian County Extension Agent (Family and Consumer Science) Agent Marsha Parker shared tips on dining out healthfully with Trigg County homemakers.

At a leader’s training session last Tuesday at the Trigg County Extension Office, Parker presented her seminar entitled “Healthy Foods to Go- How to Eat Healthy when Eating Out.”

The lure of fast food is strong, with 68,148 fast food restaurants in five major national chains. “When we were young, we didn’t go out to eat because mom always cooked,” Parker told her class.

Now two income households, more affordable and convenient restaurants, greater disposable income and smaller families make dining out feasible for many families.

“Are restaurants really more affordable? You can run up a tab and run up a tab on your body. Restaurant meals have increased calorie content and Americans consume 300 more calories per day now. We exercise less and do not work as hard as we used to,” said Parker.

In her seminar, Parker discussed the meaning of various culinary terms, and which types of food preparation lead to more healthful meals.

“Choose restaurants wisely. Look for establishments that offer a variety of foods, healthy foods and share nutritional information so you know what you are eating,” said Parker.

She said that many chain restaurants published nutritional information online, and distributed a booklet containing information on the menus of a number of chain restaurants. “The National Restaurant Association has a website that allows you to enter your zip code to find healthy food. This project is new, so the database is limited. Hopefully it will grow. Some grocery stores rate food’s nutritional value. People are trying to get us to eat healthier, but we also have to help ourselves.”

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