Dining out the healthy way
Whether you're grabbing take away or enjoying an evening at a five-star restaurant, dining out can be a challenge to your health. Here's the skinny on making your next restaurant meal a healthier one.
Don't leave your choices to chance - or your appetite. At work and home, keep a stash of menus from nearby restaurants that offer healthy dishes. When travelling, go for restaurants with light menu items and vegetarian options, and pack nutritious snacks when you know your choices are slim.
Chances are, full nutritional disclosure won't be on the menu. Ask the staff about your food, including preparation, ingredients, and serving sizes. Foods that are grilled, steamed, baked, or broiled usually contain less oil and fat than fried or braised dishes. Fresh vegetables and fruit plates are often good choices.
See if you can substitute hot chips for vegetables or fruit, get the (light) salad dressing on the side, and ask for tortillas with your salsa instead of corn chips at Mexican restaurants. At pizza restaurants you can cut your calorie and fat intake by requesting half the usual amount of cheese. Don't be afraid to speak up!
Ever eaten so many rolls that you're stuffed when your main meal arrives? Nip that in the bud with a big salad—the more vegetables, the better (try to avoid croutons, bacon bits, and creamy dressing).
Choose restaurants that permit half orders, whatever the plate charge might be. Or just eat half your meal, and take home the rest in a doggie bag for a later meal. You may opt for an entrée as your main meal, which often solves the portion problem. And instead of ordering dessert, ask if you can have a 20-calorie bite of your companion's 2,000-calorie "death by chocolate" cheesecake.
More water, please
To wash down your deliciously healthful meal, have a glass of water with a twist of lemon or lime. You can't beat the calorie count, or the price!