Mmmm ... pizza. Have a game plan in mind
before the sights and smells of the food court
get the better of you.
When you first hit the food court, you might be overwhelmed with all the choices—especially because you're hungry!
The secret is to stay cool, and don't let your friends talk you into ordering that jumbo burger when you know you'll feel better eating the smaller version.
In general, you can follow these steps to help make your food choice:
1. Have a game plan in mind before the sights and smells get the better of you. For example, say to yourself, "I'm going to walk past all the food stands first to see what's here. Then I'll think about what I really want." Check out your options, then spend your money.
2. You might feel starved, but try to buy less food than you feel like you really want. You can always go back for more, but chances are you'll fill up and won't overeat.
3. When you do go up to the counter and order, ask questions so you know what will end up on your plate, like, "What do you put on the sub? Mayonnaise?"
4. Watch out for words on the menu that can tell you a food is high fat and calorie. Words like "crispy," "deep-fried," "extra cheese," and "piled high" signal foods you might want to avoid.
5. Do try to make choices that will help keep fat grams and calories low. For example, mayonnaise, salad dressing, butter, sour cream, and cheese all tend to be high in both, so you might choose just one of these in your whole meal. If mayonnaise comes on your burger, ask them to hold it.
6. Choose single, small, or regular serving sizes instead of the double, triple, giant, or super sizes. That might be hard, but remember: You can always go back and get another serving if you're still hungry.
7. Team up with your friends and split a few items, like an order of fries. That way, you can enjoy more foods without overdoing it.
8. Remember to go easy on sugars and sweets. One good thing about the mall is you can find some lower-sugar choices, like diet soda, frozen yogurt, light ice cream, or blended fruit drinks.
9. Mix and match! You have the whole food court at your feet, so pick items from different stands to make a tasty and healthy meal.
10. Spend a little time with your parents learning about which foods are healthier for you than others. Start with the foods listed here, or find a restaurant nutrition guide. That way, you'll know before you go how to make a smart choice!