Dining Out Successfully

When dieting, preparing your meals at home will help you reach your weight loss goals faster as you know exactly what you are eating. But in today’s busy world, dining out is a way of life, we’re often just too busy to cook. You can dine out successfully, enjoy your meal and stick to your diet if you eat smart and follow these dining tips:

  1. Do your homework. You can find virtually every restaurant and every menu online and narrow your choices of where and what to eat. Make healthy, low fat and low-calorie choices and stick to those menu items at the restaurant.
  1. Order first. If you eat with others, order first. You already know what you should order, don’t be tempted by the dishes your friends or coworkers order.
  1. Ask questions. How is this dish prepared? Is it grilled or pan fried? Skin on or off? Are there smaller portions available? Can I get sauces or gravy on the side? What healthy sides are available? Can I make substitutions? Make special requests that support your diet, if the restaurant cannot accommodate your requests, there are many others that will. If your meal does not arrive at your table the way you ordered it, send it back.
  1. Avoid the extras. It is easy to consume hundreds of unnecessary calories before your meal even arrives. Avoid the fatty appetizers (like fried cheese), baskets of bread and butter, breadsticks or tortilla chips. Practice self-control or decline them if offered.
  1. Dine on appetizers. An exception to the rule above, as some appetizers may be the healthiest option on the menu. The portion size of an appetizer may be a good choice as well, or have an appetizer with a salad as your meal. Avoid those appetizers that are fried, or covered in cheeses, oils and cream sauces.
  1. Keep your healthy salad, healthy. A healthy, low fat, low-calorie salad is built around fresh leafy greens, beans and veggies, it is not covered by cheese, bacon, croutons or high-fat dressings. Choose vinaigrettes, low fat, low-calorie dressings, or a small amount of olive oil and fresh lemon juice, all ordered on the side.
  1. Be careful with side dishes. The sides you order can make your healthy entree less healthy, choose wisely. Never order the fries, substitute baked, boiled or roasted potatoes with no (or minimal) butter, cheese and sour cream. Flavor your potato choices with salsa, a dash of salt and pepper and chives.
  1. Drink water. Water is both free and calorie free. Drinking water before and during your meal will help fill your stomach and help you eat fewer calories. Colas and alcohol are liquid sugar and add hundreds of calories to your otherwise healthy meal.

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