4 Ways To Eat Healthy at the Mall

Mall food may be high on taste, but not necessarily high in nutrition. Restaurants aim to heighten your satisfaction—not extend your life. So start making healthier choices.
by Noelle A. Hechanova   |  May 16, 2010
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In the midst of temptation and peer pressure, eating healthy food in the mall is a challenge.  Not only do the delicious scents tempt your ol'factories, but coaxing from your boyfriend and your gal pals to pig out make the feat of maintaining a healthy diet difficult. But...it can be done! Here are some tips for the mall rat with healthy intentions.

  1. Word Association
    Words like "crispy," "deep-fried," "extra cheese" and "super sized" signal foods you would want to avoid. "Baked", "grilled" and "low-fat" are better indicators. Since you can't control the amount of preservatives in your meals, you might want to control your intake depending on how they're cooked.
  2. The Substitute
    French fries, heavy dressings, chicken nuggets, croissants and the like can be exchanged with healthier alternatives like baked potatoes, salads with light dressing, grilled chicken and whole wheat bread. They can be equally delicious as their greasy counterparts.
  3. Size Does Matter
    If you can't say no to the bad food, you can lessen the amount you consume. Choosing small fries over large fries makes a big difference. If you can't stay away from those nachos with extra cheese, share it with friends!
  4. Have a Game Plan
    Think of a food court like a basketball court. You have to study your options before passing the ball. Eating healthy involves the same kind of strategizing, too.  Surveying the menu or the food stalls before deciding where to eat will broaden your eating horizons. You're bound to find healthier alternatives.

Healthy Options!
You want to eat healthy but the choices are few. What can you do?

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Mall scenario 1: Your boy bud is craving for a HUGE burger! What CAN you eat in his favorite fat-filled establishment?

The Option: Some fast food chains offer healthy alternatives. If they don't give you much choice, suggest eating in the food court. He can grab his burger while you search for something more nutritious. But if you share his passion for fast-food meals, eat moderately!

Mall scenario 2: It's Saturday afternoon and the girls are out to shop! After trying on a gazillion outfits you're all ready to snack! What could you chow down?

The Option:Check out grilled sandwiches. Paninis are served in a lot of establishments. They're pretty yummy, too. Or go Mexican. Chow on bean burritos and nachos with salsa! (And be sure to share with your buds.)

Mall scenario 3: It's movie night with the barkada. That means buttery popcorn, potato chips and salted nuts! Ack!


The Option: Cereals (not the sugar-laden ones!) and unbuttered popcorn will satisfy your craving.  Munching on them makes watching your fave flick enjoyable sans the guilt. You're sure to enjoy them as much as their deadly counterparts.

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Noelle A. Hechanova
Contributing Writer
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