Have You Ever Wondered

  • how to feel comfortable when you dine alone? Any discomfort from eating alone shouldn't make you skip a meal. In reality, you're likely the only one who notices that you're a solo diner. If you feel conspicuous, ask for a table off to the side. Take an avid interest in your surroundings. Talk with the server; study the menu and the decor. While you wait, be productive: read, write a letter, jot down your "to do" list, do a little office work, or simply reflect on your day. Once your meal is served, put down your book or office work; eat slowly and savor the flavors. When you're traveling and truly need to let down and be alone, choose a hotel with room service!
  • what spa cuisine is? Although the term isn't regulated, spa cuisine often refers to health-positioned food preparation, perhaps promoted in resorts or health club cafés. On a menu that offers "spa cuisine" you may find foods with less fat or calories, more fruits, vegetables, and fiber-rich grains, or perhaps smaller portions. Like any cuisine, you need to ask questions about the menu and order with consumer savvy.

the 1950s evolved into the "drive-through" window.

As we know it today, the so-called fast-food chain, or quick-service restaurant, is a phenomenon that's only about fifty-five years old, launched for a post-World War II, fast-oriented, mobile society. At that same time, eating out became more than an occasional treat. At the start, fast food was limited to mainly fried chicken, hamburgers, French fries, ice cream, shakes, and soft drinks.

Today's fast-food menus offer far more options than traditional fare. From grilled chicken sandwiches, wraps, and broiled fish, to salads, to low-fat milk and fruit smoothies, you have plenty to choose from, including lower-calorie, lower-fat, and fresh menu items. You might even find pizza, seafood, pasta, Tex-Mex food, stuffed baked potatoes, noodles, and deli items along with quick ethnic cuisine. Breakfast also has become a big fast-food business. Even convenience stores where you gas up your car sell fast food—truly the "dining car" of the highway!

Are fast-food meals healthful? Overall, yes—if you choose wisely. Because menus are so varied, no overall comment can describe their nutritional value. Tra ditional meals—a burger, fries, a fried fruit turnover, and a soft drink, or fried chicken, biscuit, creamy slaw, and mashed potatoes with gravy—remain high in calories and fat, including saturated fat, and sodium, but low in vitamins A and C, calcium, and fiber, and short on fruits and vegetables. In response to consumer demand, many of today's fast-food restaurants offer more varied menus with more vegetables and fruits; lower-calorie, lower-fat options; and smaller portions.

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