Take the Quiz: Are You Making Healthy Choices When You Eat Out?

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Take the Quiz: Are You Making Healthy Choices When You Eat Out?

September 11, 2013

Restaurant menu choices

Which restaurant meal would be best to help your muscles recover after a workout?

Pasta in marinara sauce from an Italian restaurant
Whole-wheat bagel with low-fat veggie cream cheese from a deli
Steak and steamed broccoli from a steak house
Bean and vegetable burrito from the local Mexican restaurant

To replenish muscle glycogen stores and repair muscle tissue, the ideal nutrient combination is a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates and protein. Beans are a good source of carbohydrates and protein; although there is adequate protein in option c., the broccoli doesn’t contain adequate carbohydrates. And options a and b don’t have adequate protein.

If you stop to get a coffee and a snack at Starbucks, which menu item would be your best choice if you’re trying to lose weight?

Apple fritter
Blueberry oat bar
Chewy chocolate merinque cookie
8-grain roll

None of these snacks provide the winning combo of protein and fiber to keep you feeling full. So for weight loss, choose the lowest in calories. Don’t be fooled by healthy-sounding items and beware of portion sizes. The chewy chocolate meringue cookie (160 calories) has the fewest calories, while the apple fritter has 400 calories, the blueberry oat bar has 370 calories and the 8-grain roll has 380 calories.

Which of these menu descriptions should you NOT choose if you’re trying to drop a few pounds?

Crispy
Creamy
Breaded
"a" and "b"
All of the above

All of the answers given should be considered high in calories. Crispy and breaded both mean fried, which automatically means the item is high in calories. Creamy indicates that a high-calorie item was used, and layered with typically refers to high-calorie fare as well.

If high blood pressure or heart disease runs in your family and you’re trying to cut back on sodium, which Chili’s menu item should you skip?

Diet coke
Side of cinnamon apples
Minute Maid lemonade
Avocado slices

A side of cinnamon apples contains 95 mg sodium. Most people don’t realize that there are many other items that add sodium to the diet, and items like apples often have added salt at restaurants it they aren’t served whole. Keep in mind that Diet Coke contains sodium, too (80mg), along with Minute Maid Lemonade (65 mg). The avocado (0 mg sodium) is fresh, sliced produce and most fruits and veggies contain little to no sodium.

Which Outback Steak House side order from the list below has the lowest amount of sodium and up to two-thirds less fat and calories than the others?

Blue cheese pecan chopped salad
One serving of bread and butter
Garlic mashed potatoes
Aussie fries

The serving of bread and butter has 157 calories and 5 grams of fat. The blue cheese pecan chopped salad has the most with a whopping 559 calories and 44 grams of fat. C and D are in the middle of the two options. The garlic mashed potatoes contain 305 calories and 17 grams of fat, while the Aussie fries have 384 calories and 19 grams of fat.

If you’re reviewing a list of ingredients for menu items at a local bakery and are trying to avoid all forms of sugar, which ingredient can you have?

Agave nectar
Crystalline fructose
Hydrogenated palm oil
Maltose

Although hydrogenated oil of any kind, including palm, isn’t good for your heart because it raises your body’s bad cholesterol and lowers your good cholesterol, which can put you at risk for heart disease, it is a fat, not a sugar. Agave nectar, crystalline fructose and maltose are all forms of sugar.

If you are lactose intolerant and go to brunch at a local diner, which menu item is least likely to contain milk?

Scrambled eggs
Angel food cake
Creamy salad dressing
Pancakes

People who are lactose intolerant don’t handle dairy products well, and angel food cake is the only non-dairy-containing food on the list. Keep in mind that this is cake without whipped cream. Scrambled eggs are often prepared with milk or with dairy-containing egg alternatives. Salad dressings often use mayonnaise that contains milk, milk solids or milk products, and pancakes are typically made with milk.

If you meet a friend at a local restaurant for an after-dinner treat, which menu choice is least likely to negatively impact your sleep?

Coffee-flavored frozen yogurt
Chamomile tea
Glass of red wine
Green tea

Chamomile tea. Chamomile tea is an herbal tea and, like other herbal teas, doesn’t contain caffeine. Chamomile tea also is known to calm and bring on relaxation. Coffee frozen yogurt typically contains 30−40 mg of caffeine per half cup (an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains 100−200 mg of caffeine, depending on the type) while green tea contains 24−40 mg of caffeine per 8 ounces. Wine doesn’t contain caffeine and, although it may help you to fall asleep more easily, you are likely to awake in the middle of the night due to the rebound effect of alcohol.

If you’re at a seafood restaurant and are trying to limit your exposure to the neurotoxin mercury, which fish option should you select?

Swordfish
Tuna
Chilean Sea Bass
Tilapia

Tilapia is very low in mercury and you can eat it safely without worry. Canned chunk light tuna is moderate in mercury and it is considered safe to consume up to six, six-ounce servings per month. Chilean sea bass and tuna (canned albacore and yellowfin) are both high in mercury and should be limited to three, six-ounce servings a month. Swordfish, shark and tuna (Bigeye and ahi) are very high in mercury and should be avoided.

If you’re at a local sandwich shop and browsing the soup menu, which menu item would likely be the best choice if you’re looking for the lowest-calorie soup?

Chilled carrot ginger soup
Coconut shrimp soup
Cream of tomato soup
Sweet corn chowder soup

Chilled carrot ginger soup contains just 90 calories. The name itself implies that it contains low-calorie ingredients—both carrot and ginger. Coconut shrimp soup indicates there may be a cream or high-calorie coconut base (280 calories). The cream of tomato soup has 250 calories and any time you see the word “cream,” you can be sure that the item is not going to be low in fat or calories. The sweet corn chowder contains 320 calories, which isn’t surprising given that chowders are typically rich and thick and cream based.

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