Dietitian Tips: Healthy Tips for Dining Out

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Making smart choices while eating out can be difficult. Sometimes where you eat is out of your control, especially when you are on the go. Here are some tips on how to make the best choices possible at restaurants:

Pay attention to menu descriptions

  • Avoid pan-fried, deep-fried, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, alfredo, and au gratin. These are usually higher in calories
  • Choose leaner meats, stir frys, kebabs, and pasta with tomato sauce

Drink water with your meal

  • Soft drinks and sweet tea are a big source of hidden calories
  • Try adding lemon to your water or ordering unsweetened iced tea

“Undress” your food

  • Be aware of salad dressings, spreads, and cheeses that can be packed with unnecessary calories and fats
  • Ask for dressings on the side so you can control how much is put on your meal

Special order

  • Ask for your dish to be served without sauces or sauce on the side
  • Ask to have foods broiled or steamed
  • Ask for whole-wheat bread

Eat mindfully

  • Chew slowly and savor every bite
  • Avoid eating on the run
  • Relax and stop eating before you are full

Additionally, try to avoid supersized portions by ordering smaller portions, choosing a side salad, or taking half the meal home. Buffets often cause one to overeat since people want to get their money’s worth. If you are at a buffet, wait 15 minutes after your first plate. Finally, be aware that many restaurants use plenty of salt in their cooking so don’t add more when the food gets to your table.

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