Top 5 tips for eating healthy when eating out

For health-conscious people, dining out can be a scary experience—you never know what goes on in the kitchen! Take the fear out of restaurant dining by following these expert tips and enjoy your next chef-cooked meal.

Top 5 tips for eating healthy when eating out

1. Be smart about where you dine

Avoid the temptation of all-you-can-eat options or buffet-style restaurants, where portions are hard to control. Also avoid places known for enormous portions, like many chain restaurants and most steak houses. Fried foods are bad for your health, due to all the fat they absorb in the frying process—stay away from restaurants that feature oily and fried foods.

2. Try something new

Don't be afraid of trying health-oriented restaurants. They're popping up all over and the food is often delicious. Try to be open-minded and try new places! Consider it a part of your new, healthy lifestyle.

3. Remove temptation

Got a good restaurant selected? As soon as you're seated, ask the wait staff to remove the bread basket so you're not tempted to fill up on unhealthy carbs while waiting for your meal to arrive. At the same time, ask for a glass of water and keep it filled. Drinking plenty of water with your meal helps you feel fuller when dining.

4. Questions, questions, questions!

The next step is to ask lots of questions of your server. Inquire about how a dish you're considering is prepared: Is it swimming in butter? Are the vegetables present in only token amounts? Find out how big the portions are. If they're huge, consider sharing an entrée or order an appetizer and a side dish, salad or clear-broth soup as your main course. Another option is to ask the server to put half of the entrée in a takeout container before bringing it to your table.

5. Choose healthier options

Share a side order of steamed or roasted vegetables to get more veggies into your meal and to cut calories. If a main dish comes with a potato, ask if you can get an extra vegetables or a side salad instead. Always choose grilled, baked, steamed or broiled foods instead of fried. Finally, never order an entire dessert for yourself: share with one or more other dinner guests instead. Your goal is to eat two or three bites of dessert and no more.

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