How do I choose the best healthy entree?

Lean meats and vegetables are healthy meal options.

What makes an entree healthy is different for each person, but generally speaking, some entrees are healthier than others. This is particularly true when it comes to restaurant-bought dishes, as many of these foods come in large portions or may include ingredients unknown to customers. At home, choosing healthy dishes typically involves considering what ingredients go into a meal and determining whether those ingredients are healthy. In some special cases, an entry may be healthy for one person but harmful for another.

Vegetarian pizza with healthy peppers and mushrooms.

One of the biggest problems when choosing a healthy entree in a restaurant is determining which ingredients go into a dish. Seemingly healthy foods such as salads or fish can become extremely unhealthy when prepared in certain ways. For this reason, it is advisable to consult the nutritional information tables, if any.

When real food information is not available, choosing a healthy entree involves making informed assumptions about the nutritional content of the food. Anything fried, stuffed, or breaded is unlikely to be healthy. Sauces that include mayonnaise, butter, or other unhealthy ingredients can make a healthy entree unhealthy. Familiarity with how certain foods are prepared can help you avoid fattening dishes.

In terms of preparation, steamed foods are often quite healthy. Vegetarian or vegan food is also often low in calories, although this is not true if the entree is fried. Lean meats can be very healthy, but preparation is key to assessing the nutritional value of these foods in restaurants.

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Choosing the best healthy entree at home is much easier and involves looking at the ingredients that go into a dish before you prepare it. Many recipes provide information about calories, fat content, and other nutritional details that can help you identify healthy dishes. One thing to keep in mind with these recipes is that the portion size must be controlled so that the nutritional information is accurate.

To determine whether an entree is healthy, it’s important to look at more than just the meal being eaten. A balanced diet includes general eating habits as well as current deficiencies. Some days, a high-protein meal may be just what the body needs, but other days a high-carb meal may be more appropriate. Being flexible and thoughtful when choosing healthy dishes can help you cultivate an intuitive sense for a healthy meal, reducing the need to constantly calculate and monitor nutrition.

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