I met a friend at a restaurant yesterday. We got chatting and the first thing she said was that the entire spread at the buffet table could not be eaten as it was unhealthy. This is not uncommon. People often complain about the lack of options when traveling, eating out or at parties. While in principle, you probably know less about what goes into your food outside of your home, there are smart options for you to explore and still be mindful about eating. The global food industry is built to please your taste buds and so you need to exercise discretion. This starts with a deeper understanding of what you are eating but there are some simple things you can do.
Steamed foods in general are better than pan friend or fried. Avoid the bread basket, tortilla chips, garlic bread or papad. Do the same with the side of bread, rice or potato with the meal. Look for foods that are low in carbohydrates such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, cauliflower or cottage cheese if you are vegetarian. If you are eating Chinese watch for the sauces as many sauces have corn-flour in them. Similarly you need to be careful about the sauces that come with middle eastern foods. Salads are available with many variations, you just need to be careful about the dressing and the vegetables in the dressing. Stick to dark leafy vegetables as far as possible. Vinegar based dressings are the best. Also often they add caramelized nuts in your salad. Obviously they are not good for you! In general be careful about the dips, ketchup and condiments as they often have loads of sugar.
Finally, when I was young, I would laugh at my mother because she carried her food everywhere. I often just carry my food having learnt the hard way how easy it easy to lose focus. As the saying goes, you grow up to be your parents. Happy eating!