November 13, 2019 by John Fernandez
Healthy Brunches: Do’s and Don’ts
As the weekend approaches, plans may call for a Father’s Day brunch. After all, brunch can be a great time for family and friends to get together over some diverse dishes and great conversation.
However, for some people following restrictive diets, brunch and eating out may be a time of distress, with over-sized dishes and endless options. Part of a healthy lifestyle is being able to mindfully enjoy social engagements centered on food.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to help keep brunch fun without the feeling of getting off track.
Before heading to brunch, look up the restaurant menu online. Many restaurants post their brunch menus on their websites. Another trick is also to look up the food images – then you can see the portions you may expect. Heading to brunch with a plan of what to order can help you stay on track while not feeling overwhelmed or pressured to make a decision on the spot at the restaurant.
The purpose of getting together for brunch is not just for the food, it is also to spend time with family, friends, loved ones and new acquaintances. Enjoying the social aspects of brunch helps get your mind off of the food.
- SKIP THE ‘BOTTOMLESS’ OPTIONS
While this may appear to be a good deal for your pocket, it may not be a good idea for your health. Any “bottomless” or “endless” option will encourage you to consume more regardless if you already feel satisfied. Over-consuming any food or alcoholic beverage has many concerns. Besides the excess liquid calories found in alcoholic beverages, there is concern for increased risk of intoxication.
Enjoy the food samples from various plates by having the food served family-style. Each person can then decide how much they want to eat from each dish.
- SAUCES ON THE SIDE
Sauces can be a sneaky way to get in extra calories and unhealthy fats. Ask your waiter to put any dressings, syrups, dressings or aioli on the side so you can control how much you want to eat.
When you order family-style, consider ordering a side of veggies which can help increase your daily vegetable intake as well as add color and nutrients to compliment any meal.
- SAVOR YOUR FOOD
Practice mindfully enjoying the food by taking breaks in-between bites or putting your fork down to get plugged into the conversation. South Florida is full of so many eclectic restaurant and delectable cuisines. Learn to savor each bite!
- STOP WHEN YOU’RE SATISFIED
From the study of Blue Zones (people living past 100 years old), an Okinawan mantra is to stop eating when your stomach feels 80% full. This goes hand-in-hand with eating mindfully and paying attention to your hunger-fullness cues. It can take about 20 minutes for your brain to recognize it is satisfied after starting to eat, so teach yourself to stay in tune with the table conversation as well as your satiety.
Brunch dishes can be oversized. By practicing mindful eating, stop eating when you feel satisfied and pack the rest to-go.
About Lucette Talamas
Lucette Talamas is a registered dietitian with Community Health at Baptist Health South Florida. She holds a bachelor’s degree in food science and human nutrition from University of Florida. With additional experience as a clinical dietitian, Lucette enjoys providing practical nutrition information to promote healthy lifestyles that can help prevent and manage chronic diseases. Her expert tips and advice have been featured in print and broadcast media, including Miami Herald, CBS Miami, Telemundo and Univision. Active in professional nutrition organizations, Lucette was recently honored with the 2018 Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year Award from the Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.