Healthy Dining out Tips

The Truth about Dining-Out

It is spring break for many kids across North America, which means many families are traveling during this time and dining out. Unfortunately many restaurants are notorious for high calorie, fatty foods and are even a breeding ground for bacteria. Here are some simple solutions to eating out with your family and staying happy and healthy at the same time.

Caution: bar lemons and limes
Many restaurants never wash the lemons or limes they cut up to put in your water or drinks. The outer peel of lemons and limes is a breeding ground for bacteria and can even contain mold and Candida yeast (the type found in your mouth!). When ordering water or a drink, ask to have the lemon or lime wedges placed on the side, and squeeze the juice into your drink.

Caution: a dirty bathroom
A dirty bathroom can immediately turn you off a restaurant, but even further may be a sign into the cleanliness of the kitchen. Remember that there is more to a clean counter in a kitchen, but the inside of a fridge or oven can harvest bacteria. If you are skeptical of a new restaurant, go into the bathroom when you first enter and see if the trash can is more than half full, or the condition of the sinks toilet. If it doesn’t meet your approval, then the cleanliness of the kitchen probably isn’t much better!

Caution: buffets
You have heard it before; buffets are breeding grounds for bacteria. Food tends to sit out for a long time, and you never know if someone has sneezed into the food, or touched it then put it back. Food is also served in large quantities, so those scrambled eggs you think you’re eating might not be real. Solutions to eating at a buffet include going when it first opens to ensure the highest quality of freshness. Aim for noon if you go for lunch, or 5pm if going for dinner.

Caution: decaffeinated coffee vs. caffeinated coffee
If you order caffeinated coffee past 8pm, some restaurants will make it decaffeinated simply because most people choose decaffeinated at night. If you prefer the caffeine, ask for an espresso or cappuccino because they will make it separately.

This spring break when you dine out with your family, exercise some simple cautions to make sure everyone leaves feeling great. Use your own personal judgments at restaurants, and do not hesitate to express your concerns and get what you want.

By Sarah Bamber