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Carolinas HealthCare System
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Title
Keeping Your Heart in Mind
Date
07/01/2014
Article

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Taking care of yourself means taking care of your heart. And eating foods that are good for you – fresher, less processed foods – is a great step in the right direction. But sticking to your health goals is tough when you’re dining out or traveling and away from your own well-stocked fridge and pantry.

“With the right strategies and a little preparation, you can take care of your heart when you’re away from home,” says Prachee Jain, MD, from
SouthPoint Internal Medicine, part of Carolinas HealthCare System. Dr. Jain recommends these strategies when eating away from home:

  •  Listen to the American Heart Association. Look for the heart check symbol on restaurant menus.
  • Double-up on side salads. Most fast food restaurants offer simple side salads for less than $2. Get two, use one dressing and you have a nice, filling alternative to french fries.
  • Go light on the sauces and dressings. Ask for them on the side. Dip your fork and then take a bite. You’ll get the same flavor but fewer calories.
  • Put a third of your meal in a to-go container. Don’t be shy about asking your server at a restaurant to place 1/3 of your meal in a to-go container. They’ve seen it before. And you’ll eat less.
  • Split meals. One person orders a salad, one person gets an entrée. It’s a great way to reduce calories without foregoing taste.
  • Ask for slight menu changes. There’s nothing wrong with asking to hold gravy or leave off the biscuit. You’ll save calories without sacrificing taste.
  • Skip the starch. Get two sides of veggies. Even if there aren’t that many veggies on the menu, most restaurants will prepare them for you if you ask.
  • Lose the bun. Ordering a fast food hamburger? Did you know 80 percent of carbs in a burger are in the bun? And that the bun accounts for half the calories? Skipping the bun is the healthiest way to eat a not-so-healthy burger.
  • Go boiled, baked and grilled. Even a baked potato is better than french fries. Just remember not to over-compensate with butter and sauces.
  • Look at the menu online. Decide on a healthy option before you get to the restaurant. Your decisiveness in ordering will help you stay away from unhealthy options.

Partner with Us for a Healthy Heart

If you’d like to connect with a primary care doctor at Carolinas HealthCare System who can help you get well and stay well, call 844-881-2180 or complete an online request form to find a doctor near you.

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