You’ve probably heard dining-out tips such as “choose broiled over fried” and “order sauces on the side” a dozen times. Here are some new ones that can help too.
1. Maintain balance.
Choose one splurge per restaurant trip and then round out the meal with healthy favorites. If you have to have the fettuccine Alfredo, have a big tossed salad as an appetizer and fruit for dessert.
2. Go halvsies.
Ask restaurants to use only half of the normal portion for high-fat ingredients such as cheese, oil, bearnaise sauce, or gravy. That way you get the flavor without being tempted to pile on more.
3. Order extras — of veggies.
Whether they’re dressing a sandwich or part of a stir-fry, ask for an extra helping of these low-cal, high-fiber gems.
4. Get real.
This isn’t your last (restaurant) supper. You’ll go out to eat again — probably to the very same place — so you don’t have to eat everything that sounds good this time.
5. Make it a two-course meal.
Appetizers and desserts can really rack up the calories and fat. Choose one or the other to go with your entrée.
6. Mix ‘n match.
If you’re dining with someone else who’s watching what he eats, order one vegetarian and one meat entrée, then share. You automatically cut your meat portion without feeling deprived.
7. Share often.
Offer a taste of your dish to everyone at your table. The more they eat, the less there is for you. (Just don’t partake when they start sharing.)
8. Go “big” on grease.
If you really want something fried, choose large-size items — a breast of chicken instead of five or six chicken fingers, or seven or eight steak fries instead of 20 or more thin french fries. The smaller items have more surface area, so they absorb more oil, making them higher in fat and calories.
9. Collect menus.
Decide what you’re going to order before you get to the restaurant, where the sights and smells can blow even the best of intentions.
10. Be first.
Order before anyone else to avoid letting others’ choices influence you.