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10 Tips For Making Eating Out More Healthy

  1. Don't arrive at the restaurant hungry - eat a piece of fruit or a small snack before going out.
  2. Don't fixate on the food - focus on pleasant conversations, having someone wait on you and the fact that you don't have to do the dishes!
  3. Watch your portions - split an entree with a friend, ask the waitress to ask the cook to put only half of what he normally would put on plate (I use this strategy a lot), eat half and have the waitress take the plate away immediately.  
  4. Stray from menu - Don't be afraid to ask for dressings on the side or substitute French Fries with baked potato or vegetable.  Most restaurants are very accommodating.
  5. Look for "red flag" items - Au Gratin, Alfredo, batter-dipped, breaded, bernaise, creamy, crispy, parmagiana and tempura indicate high fat.  Anything grilled, broiled or poached usually indicates low-fat dishes.
  6. Ask how dishes are prepared - Don't be afraid to ask how a menu item is made.  Their agenda is not yours.  Be assertive.
  7. Eat slowly, take small bites - remember, it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register the feeling of fullness.  If you eat fast you will probably eat more than you need to be satisfied.
  8. Control alcohol intake - alcohol stimulates your appetite so try and drink with your meal, not before. Choose a light beer or other lower calorie choice.
  9. Don't deny yourself - if you deny your craving and order steamed vegetables instead you will most likely be thinking of the burger you wanted and end up overeating.
  10. Improve your nutritional choices at home - if you eat out a lot make an extra effort to eat fruits and vegetables at home.