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8 Tips for Dining Out With COPD

By Hurley, Judith
Content provided by: Better Medicine from Healthgrades

Navigating restaurant menus can be tricky, especially for people with COPD. You know that small portions are less likely to cause shortness of breath, but restaurant servings can be huge. You also need nutrients to fight off infections, maintain a healthy weight, and provide energy for hard-working respiratory muscles, so it’s important to choose healthy foods.

Here are some tips for making restaurant meals work for you:

  1. Go early before the crowds hit so that you won’t feel rushed. When you are relaxed during a meal, you are less likely to accidentally swallow air, which leads to discomfort.
  2. Restaurant servings are often too big, so plan to take half of your entrée home with you.
  3. Choose a good source of protein, such as chicken, fish, cottage cheese, or lean meat. You need protein to support your muscles.
  4. If you are trying to gain weight, it’s OK to have a little extra fat from margarine, gravy, cheese, or cream sauce. If you are trying to lose weight, go easy on these extras.
  5. Ask that your food be prepared without salt. Too much sodium causes fluid retention, making breathing more difficult and may raise blood pressure.
  6. If you suffer from heartburn, avoid caffeine, alcohol, spicy and acidic foods, and foods high in fat.
  7. For extra nutrition, order milk or juice instead of soft drinks, which can cause bloating and gas.
  8. If you have room for dessert, skip the gooey sweets. More nutrient-rich choices are fresh fruit, frozen yogurt, or fruit cobbler.

Now, pull up a chair and enjoy!

Medical Reviewer: Garvey, Chris, FNP, MSN, MPA; Godsey, Cynthia, MSN, APRN, MSHE, FNP-BC Last Annual Review Date: 2011-09-27T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright: Copyright Health Ink & Vitality Communications

Reference: Lungs, Breathing and Respiration section on Better Medicine