Eating outside your home comes as a big relief for most of us especially when we want to have something different from the regular routine “Ghar ka Khana”.
No matter how much we love home cooked food, there comes a point in time when we all crave for outside food even if it is not prepared in the best hygienic way. And well, it’s the first thing foodies like me look forward to do when on holidays or socializing.
Usually,nutritionists and dieticians always emphasize on healthy choices and mindful eating practices while eating out. But sadly, eating healthy i.e non-fatty, low calorie foods alone don’t help to stay healthy and fit. While we pay attention to the fat or sugar content and the processing method of the food while eating out, it’s also equally important to make sure what is served on our plate is safe enough to be consumed.
Failure to adhere to proper safety measures can cause nausea, vomiting, cramps, stomach upset, and in worst case can lead to a serious episode of food poisoning or food borne illness. Thus,a mere act of enjoyment and pleasing the taste buds ends up putting extra stress on our digestive and immune system.
So what’s the alternative? Is there something which can take care of both-the taste buds and our body’s system? The Answer is YES
Here are 5 simple tips which can help us lower the health risk and ensure that the food safety part is not completely ignored!
1) Look for eateries having open kitchen or at least which allows a view of the kitchen
Food safety is all about what goes beyond the scenes i,e inside the kitchen and depends on the person who is cooking as well as the one who is serving the food. Hence, opting for places or restaurant joints that have open kitchen or dining place which allows you to have a view of the kitchen area helps a lot. This will give you some idea of the cleanliness of the kitchen premise, the utensils/equipment and also whether the chef and other kitchen staff are taking care of personal hygiene or not.
2) Go for places/joints which are always crowded or have high visitor ratio
Apart from ensuring that such restaurant is popular and serves tasty food, it will also ensure safer food. This is because crowded places have high turnover of food, and hence chances of getting served stale food reduces (example-the left over gravies and sauces or foods such as cooked rice from previous day).
3) Avoid opting for dishes which are too exotic, off beat or off seasonal
This is largely to play safe as we never know which ingredients go inthe preparation of such foods. Also,it’salways best to avoid dishes which have offseasonal food ingredients say any fruit or vegetable, because storage method of such foods then is a big question?Which if not stored properly as per the protocol can impose a potential risk for food toxicity.
4) Prefer cooked foods over raw or cold foods
This is applicable while eatingin the roadside eateries or joints as they often use food items like chopped onion, peeled potatoes, chutneys etc; which are pre prepared and if not covered and stored properlycan be subjected to contamination from flies, pests etc and thus become a potential health hazard. Opting for cooked foods ensures that at least some microbes get destroyed due to heat.
#Go for grilled/toasted sandwich instead of regular sandwich
5)Beware of what you eat during buffet set ups
** Avoid having cut salads, cold pastas and fruits in buffet set ups like weddings or in hotels since they are likely to sit there for a long time before they actually go into our plate.We can have soups, grilled/sauteedveggies or steamed starters instead of salads in such situations to fill ourselves and save us from overindulgence.
** Besides this, make sure that all other foods kept at buffet table are maintained at proper temperatures; cold food should be kept cold, hot food should be kept hot when you serve them on your plate.
Remember, next time when you head out just follow these simple tips to make sure you enjoy your time away from the kitchen without thinking of the extra calories or worrying about food poisoning…think good nutrition!!