Restaurant Strategies

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Enjoy Dining Out!

Dining out is a part of life. And learning some simple steps can make dining out fit into your healthy eating.

Watch Your Portion Size.

Restaurant meals tend to come in Fred-Flintstone-sized portions. The first step to portion control is using these ordering tricks: Why not order a lunch sized entree for dinner or a child sized meal? Or just eat half of your entree. You can take the other half home or split it with a friend. A good idea is asking the waiter to wrap up half your order to take home BEFORE it comes to the table. Removing temptation makes it a lot easier to resist.

Make Simple Substitutions.

Why not substitute a side salad, fruit salad or extra veggies for those fries? Ask for salsa with your burrito instead of the cheese and sour cream. Pick low-fat or fat-free salad dressings, always ask for them on the side and use only a small amount. For sandwich spreads, use ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce or fat-free mayonnaise instead of house dressings and creamy sauces.

Ask for Healthy Cooking Methods.

Request that your food be broiled, roasted or grilled, rather than breaded and fried. Ask for egg substitutes or whites and whole grain breads. Look for menu items that are cooked in broth instead of oil and butter. For pizza, request a thin crust and lots of vegetables, then only have 1 slice with a side salad. If you are watching your salt intake, make a request that no salt be added to your food during cooking and don’t add salt at the table. Skip high calorie add-ons like cheese and bacon.

Drink Wisely.

Why double your calories by picking the wrong drink? Make healthy choices like water, unsweetened iced tea or mineral water. If you choose to drink alcohol, light beer and wine have fewer calories than other alcoholic drinks. If you prefer a mixed drink, use sugar-free mixers such as diet soda, diet tonic, club soda or seltzer.

Fast Food Solutions.

If you prefer fast food, look for salads topped with grilled chicken or fish. Order grilled chicken, turkey and veggie burgers, and always check to make sure you top them with a low-fat sauce and lots of veggies. Please skip the cheese.

Eat Around the Same Time Every Day.

When you eat around the same time each day and space your meals and snacks every few hours, it helps to reduce cravings. To make sure you don’t wait forever when dining out, try to make a reservation or schedule your outing at your usual meal time.

Once you have a strategy for eating out, you can have a great time while still enjoying a healthy meal.