HOW TO: Eat Healthy When Dining Out

No need to scuttle your healthy food commitments when you dine out. Here are some tips to help make dining experiences both tasty and good for you.

1. Have it your way. Be assertive and ask for modifications on the menu. If an item comes fried, ask for it grilled. Or, ask for smaller portions of protein and larger portions of vegetables.

2. Ask how the food was prepared. For instance, cholesterol-free does not mean fat-free; the dish could still be dense with calorie-dense oil. Neither does “lite” necessarily mean light in calories or fat. In general, select foods that are: Steamed in their own juice (au jus), broiled, baked, roasted, poached or lightly sautéed.

3. Beware of the low-carb options. Low-carb offerings are all the rage, but low-carb doesn’t mean low-cal.

4. Box half of your entrée before it ever gets to the table. Or split an entrée with your dining partner. Restaurants often serve two to three times more than food labels list as a serving.

5. Decide what you’re eating before you leave home. Most chains post their menus on their Web sites. Decide early and defer the temptations later

6. Know the jargon. Any menu description that uses the words creamy, breaded, crisp, sauced, or stuffed is likely loaded with hidden fats — much of it saturated or even trans fats. Steer clear of: buttery, sautéed, pan-fried, au gratin, cheese sauce, scalloped, and au lait, à la mode, or au fromage (with milk, ice cream, or cheese).

7. Pass (on) the bread. If you must have something to munch on while you wait for your order, ask for a plate of raw vegetables.

8. Dress up to dine out.  If you view eating out as a novelty you likely won’t eat out as often — a win from both a health and a cost standpoint.

Eating Healthy When Dining Out

 

No need to scuttle your healthy food commitments when you dine out. Here are some tips to help make dining experiences both tasty and good for you.

 

1. Have it your way. Be assertive and ask for modifications on the menu. If an item comes fried, ask for it grilled. Or, ask for smaller portions of protein and larger portions of vegetables.  

 

2. Ask how the food was prepared. For instance, cholesterol-free does not mean fat-free; the dish could still be dense with calorie-dense oil. Neither does “lite” necessarily mean light in calories or fat. In general, select foods that are: Steamed in their own juice (au jus), broiled, baked, roasted, poached or lightly sautéed.

 

3. Beware of the low-carb options. Low-carb offerings are all the rage, but low-carb doesn’t mean low-cal. 

 

4. Box half of your entrée before it ever gets to the table. Or split an entrée with your dining partner. Restaurants often serve two to three times more than food labels list as a serving.

 

5. Decide what you’re eating before you leave home. Most chains post their menus on their Web sites. Decide early and defer the temptations later

 

6. Know the jargon. Any menu description that uses the words creamy, breaded, crisp, sauced, or stuffed is likely loaded with hidden fats — much of it saturated or even trans fats. Steer clear of: buttery, sautéed, pan-fried, au gratin, cheese sauce, scalloped, and au lait, à la mode, or au fromage (with milk, ice cream, or cheese).

 

7. Pass (on) the bread. If you must have something to munch on while you wait for your order, ask for a plate of raw vegetables.

 

8. Dress up to dine out.  If you view eating out as a novelty you likely won’t eat out as often — a win from both a health and a cost standpoint. AT

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