Method to the Madness

This final week of Nutrition Month we return to the methods of a healthy diet. Up until now our focus has been on cooking and eating at home but we live in Shanghai and eating out is just part of the lifestyle. You can eat out and have your healthy diet too.  It is all a matter of choice.

About the toughest cuisine to wedge into a heart healthy diet is restaurant Chinese. Apologies to the motherland but unless you are eating at one of the vegetarian Chinese restaurants in town, authentic Chinese , while tasty is generally oilier, sweeter and saltier than we should be eating. Exposure is often  the key. If eating Chinese is a daily habit for you then you want to rethink that bowl of lanzhou la mian. However if you join a group of friends once every few months for a Chinese hotpot or sizzling Sichuan meal than you are  striking the right balance. (Cooking Chinese at home is different as you are in control of the ingredients).

Most other cuisines have grilled items of some sort on the menu.  I don’t know too many Asian cuisines ( except Chinese) that don’t offer some variation of chicken on a stick. Vegetables are a great choice and your heart will thank you when you opt for the  salad over the fries.  Find yourself in a tough social spot where you don’t want to offend your host by turning down dessert?  Then think small. You can always say that the meal was so wonderful you don’t have room for dessert.

Then there is the alcohol that accompanies many an evening out.  If you don’t drink alcohol still watch out for sugary sodas and juices.  These can add unwanted calories and sugar to your healthy meal. Alcohol has its merits but most experts recommend two drinks  per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. By the way you can’t save them up all week and splurge on the weekend. I know that is what some of you are thinking!

Eating should be a joyful , delicious event that nourishes both body and soul.  Stressing about the right thing to eat is not part of the method!

Eat Well, Live Well , Have Fun !