By Gina Dolenti, Gundersen Lutheran registered dietitian
Nearly half of all family meals are consumed at restaurants or picked up as take-out. Whether eating meals away from home is a regular part of your lifestyle or only a part of special occasions, remember to select healthy, balanced meals 80 percent of the time.
Balanced eating involves consuming all five food groups in your diet daily. Aim for meals to have three to five food groups and one to two food groups for snacks. Balanced choices also involve picking healthy, nutrient-dense foods that are sustaining to our bodies. This includes foods such as whole-grain products, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy.
For those who dine out on occasion, give yourself permission to choose a meal that may not be the healthiest for you, but you thoroughly enjoy. This is okay to do 20 percent of the time, as long as you do so in moderation.
If eating meals away from home is a common part of your lifestyle, then ordering healthy, balanced options is essential. Eating healthy can be done wherever you choose to dine, and Gundersen Health System's 500 Club® is a great tool in making the healthy choice an easy, identifiable option. The 500 Club® collaborates with any food vendor who is looking to create and identify healthy choices on their menu. Menu items and balanced meal combinations are clearly identified with the 500 Club® logo to highlight options that are controlled in calories and fat. Here are some of Gundersen Health System's newest 500 Club® members:
Burnstad's Market began with a single grocery store that opened in 1944. The operation has grown substantially since then to encompass four supermarkets and a European restaurant. The Burnstad family extends beyond the customary meaning of "family" to include their valued associates and guests. Together as one big family, they work to achieve their goals and look forward to the future with optimism. Look for 500 Club®-labeled items throughout the Deli and Produce departments of all four Burnstad's Markets in Black River Falls, Richland Center, Spencer and Tomah. Store hours and available products vary by location. Visit
burnstadsmarket.com for more information.
That Salad Place
This locally owned and operated "design-your-own-salad" concept came to La Crosse in mid- 2012 in response to people's desire for fresh and healthy food, prepared just for them. Customers can choose their own ingredients and dressings and have their "customized" salad tossed right before their eyes. Pre-designed "Classic" salads are also served, along with scrumptious wraps and paninis. The food is fresh and the portions are large, all served in a bright, cheery and clean atmosphere. There are many 500 Club® options available like the Asian or Strawberry Fields Salad, Mediterranean or Caesar Wrap, Veggie Panini and more! You can "mix it up" at That Salad Place, Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Visit thatsaladplace.net to learn more.
With a mission to be the best pizza company in the world by killing it on every detail of the customer experience, Toppers Pizza is a 49-unit eclectic pizza delivery franchise headquartered in Whitewater, Wis. Toppers takes pride in being different from the cookie-cutter chains of the world with their unique menu, which includes 18 House Pizzas, their signature line of Topperstix, Oven Toasted Grinders, Buffalo Wings, Q-za's and cold drinks. With a fanatical audience in the young, and the young at heart, Toppers has plans to continue the quest for world domination by expanding from their Wisconsin base. Toppers has six specialty house pizzas on their 500 Club® menu: California with Marinara, Chicken Taco, Chicken Tuscano, Maui, Smoky Barbeque Chicken and Veggie Pizza. Visit the La Crosse or Onalaska Toppers today (toppers.com).
If you would like more information about the 500 Club®, please call the Gundersen Lutheran Nutrition Clinic at (608) 775-3447 or go to 500-club.org.