Food & dining
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    A few dining tips to keep you on a healthy track

    Rick Bern

    It’s been just over a month since New Year’s resolutions went into effect. Many of us committed to eating healthier. And now it’s February, snow is piled high, there’s been lots of shoveling, partying for Super Bowl, and more. You have to wonder if anyone is still on the wagon.

    Skylar Griggs has tips for staying on track. The dietitian at Boston Children’s Hospital works in the Preventive Cardiology Clinic. One of the first changes Griggs will ask patients to make is to have one or two cups of vegetables as part of dinner. It doesn’t matter what that is — broccoli, salad, asparagus, or other greens. But not starchy vegetables. “Corn, peas, and potatoes don’t count,” she says.

    Griggs understands that celebrations come up and people travel for both business and pleasure. Some people starve themselves if they know they will be indulging in a meal out later. She recommends not going more than three to four hours without eating, in order to keep blood sugar and willpower in check.

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    She has strategies for dining out. “If you are able to go to the restaurant’s website ahead of time and pick out what you want, that’s really helpful,” she says. And think about beginning with a healthy appetizer. “For a lot of people, filling up on some kind of clear soup, salad, or sashimi can be really useful because by the time you get your entree, you are already full enough that maybe you can take half of it home,” she says. “I always encourage people to order a side of vegetables if their meal doesn’t come with one, and place that right next to your meal.” She believes that’s the best way to avoid overdoing it with fries and the bread basket.

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    No one has to give up snacking, she says. “People forget that if they go into a meal starving, it’s a lot harder to make a good decision.” For on-the-go snacks, the dietitian recommends individual packets of hummus or peanut butter that you can eat with veggie sticks or an apple. One of her favorite snacks is a high-fiber fruit and yogurt smoothie that you can stash in the fridge at work. During the winter months she recommends blending frozen fruit with
    4 ounces of fat-free Greek yogurt and 4 ounces of fruit juice. The berries give you carbohydrates to fill you up, and the yogurt has protein to keep you feeling fuller longer, she says. The key is knowing what you’re doing in any given situation. “If you plan ahead a little bit,” she says, “you’ll be in good shape.”

    CATHERINE SMART