Eat Out, Eat Well – The Guide to Eating Healthy in Any Restaurant – An Interview with Author Hope Warshaw
Greetings! We’re back for another Neily on Nutrition book series post together with Kristine James, featuring a book authored by my colleague Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, Eat Out, Eat Well – The Guide to Eating Healthy in Any Restaurant.
Hope has authored many books including Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy, Complete Guide to Carb Counting: How to Take the Mystery Out of Carb Counting and Improve Your Blood Glucose Control, as well as a few books for her colleagues including Practical Carbohydrate Counting: A How-to-Teach Guide for Health Professionals.
What was your motivation to write the book?
Kristine: How has your professional experience as a registered dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator motivated you to write Eat Out, Eat Well – The Guide to Eating Healthy in Any Restaurant?
Hope: I’ve been writing self-help books about eating healthier and diabetes management for several decades. My first book, published in 1990, was focused on healthy restaurant eating and I’ve been writing about this topic ever since. My newest book—Eat Out, Eat Well – The Guide to Eating Healthy in Any Restaurant—is broken up into three sections. The first section offers general guidelines and strategies for healthy restaurant eating. Section two gets into the particulars of healthy eating at American-style restaurants from walk-up and order fast food-type restaurants to sit-down family style and upscale restaurants. Section three covers a wide range of ethnic cuisines.
I got started writing about healthy restaurant eating way back because when I was counseling people with diabetes and those with weight control concerns, I realized the information available was very basic and truthfully pretty unrealistic.…and that was 25 years ago.
Restaurant options have changed dramatically since then. Today, with Americans eating restaurant meals—whether in the restaurant or take-out—so frequently and eating, on average, about a third of our calories away from home, this information is critically important to help people eat healthier regardless the setting they are in.
Challenges people face eating out
Kristine: What are the two or three biggest challenges to healthy restaurant eating?
Hope: In Eat Out, Eat Well – The Guide to Eating Healthy in Any Restaurant I discuss the 10 pitfalls of healthy restaurant eating and then provide readers with 10 skills and strategies to combat each one of these pitfalls. The three biggest challenges to healthy restaurant eating are, and these are listed in priority order:
- Portions are HUGE.
- High fat content from fats and oils used in food preparation plus high fat ingredients and high fat items served at the table. No wonder—fats and oils make food taste good!
- Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are often MIA (missing in action).
So the very foods we want people to eat more of are tough to find. In sections 2 and 3 of the book I offer specific skills and strategies for managing the 10 restaurant eating pitfalls in the cadre of different restaurants.
What advice does Eat Out, Eat Well offer to support optimal health?
Kristine: What advice does your book offer people interested in supporting optimal health?
Hope: Basically the book is a complete resource about how to choose healthy restaurant foods for those looking to eat healthfully. While the book is geared to people with prediabetes and diabetes, it is very applicable to anyone looking for insights into restaurant foods and strategies to apply to eat healthier restaurant meals.
If people pick up a copy of the book I’d encourage them to turn to pages 42 – 43. There they’ll find a self-assessment questionnaire I’ve titled Get to Know Yourself. Readers can take a few minutes to answer five simple questions that can inform them about their restaurant eating habits from frequency of restaurant meals to the types and amounts of foods they eat. Reality is to make changes in your habits and behaviors you need to know where you’re coming from. Then make changes one step at a time.
Favorite restaurant eating tips
Kristine: Your book is loaded with useful advice. What are some of your favorite tips?
Hope: My absolute favorite tips focus on the biggest pitfall of restaurant eating—portions are HUGE. The tips can be applied in nearly all restaurant settings, whether eating in or taking out: Practice portion control from the point you order. Get less food in front of you.
We know from volumes of nutrition research once food is in front of you, you’re more likely to eat it (and overeat). Another favorite portion control tip is when possible and practical, split and share menu items. Most of the tips I provide are practical and work well to achieve my healthy eating and nutrition goals. In fact, my family teases me that in restaurants we negotiate our order—note order vs. orders—using group consensus rather than being an independent activity. We do lots of splitting and sharing, turning most menus into family-style eating whether the restaurant likes it or not. This controls portions offering us lots of tastes without much waste.
Kristine: We’d love to know what your most favorite healthy breakfast and lunch/dinner options at a restaurant are.
Hope: I have lots of favorites. It totally depends on the type of restaurant and the cuisine. I think it’s fantastic that today we enjoy such a broad array of foods and particularly ethnic foods in most of our midst. My preference is ethnic food any day of the week. I’m a good cook and cook most days, but it tends to be mainly American food and fare. When I go out my preference is for different foods, herbs, spices and tastes.
Hope’s favorite super foods
Kristine: Neily’s philosophy is not based on ‘superfoods’ many pseudo-nutritionists swear by, but more on super foods that make up a super diet. For example Neily can’t live without some things like milk and if she were to be deserted on an island that would be one thing she would want (of course, there is refrigeration on her island—her fantasy island). If you had access to only 3-5 things what would your choices be?
Hope: On my fantasy island I’d have to have fresh fruit, especially ripe, juicy mangos and berries. I’d also have to have lettuce and ingredients to make salads. An excellent balsamic vinegar could do for salad dressing. And every few days I’d want to enjoy something sweet and delectable, perhaps a small serving of Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch or a piece of Godiva chocolate. (Neily’s note: Love that Hope! Conscious decisions—eating sweet treats with no guilt.)
Meet Hope Warshaw, a dietitian and diabetes educator for nearly forty years. She currently operates a consulting practice, Hope Warshaw Associates, LLC, in Northern Virginia. Her work today spans from corporate consulting to freelance writing and individual diabetes education and weight management. Hope has authored numerous books published by American Diabetes Association including Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy and Eat Out, Eat Well – The Guide to Eating Healthy in Any Restaurant. She’s the contributing editor for Diabetic Living magazine and writes the Nutrition Q&A column in The Washington Post. During 2015 Warshaw is serving as President-elect of AADE.
I hope you enjoyed the third Neily on Nutrition interview series—check back soon for the next one!