5 Tips for Dining Out and Eating Healthily

Here's food for thought! Did you know the average restaurant meal
has over 1,000 calories? That's enough to blow any healthy eating
plan. Fortunately, by following a few simple guidelines, you can
dine out without having to sacrifice good taste and nutrition.

1. Avoid ordering an appetizer. It's a little known fact that
some appetizers have more calories and fat than the main course.
Plus, many appetizers are fried and served with heavy sauces
which will add to your intake of saturated fat as well as trans
fats and calories. It's not a healthy way to start your meal.

2. Say "yes" to salad. Salad is a healthy eater's best friend.
Not only will it fill you up so you'll consume fewer calories
overall, but it will also give you a hefty dose of antioxidants
which are heart healthy. Be sure to ask your waitress to hold the
croutons and cheese which will further reduce your caloric load.
Also, choose your dressing wisely. Avoid cream based dressings
and go for the vinegar based ones. You also have the option of
using vinegar and olive oil which is heart healthy.

3. Make the right entree selection. Go for broiled and grilled
rather than fried. Not only will you save calories and fat grams,
you'll also avoid trans fats which are so prevalent in fried
foods. Instead, consider asking for a doubles order of vegetables
with your entree. Very few Americans are getting the 7-9 servings
of fruits and vegetables recommended for optimal health. Plus, by
avoiding the starch, you'll be reducing your caloric and
carbohydrate load. Also, stick to tomato based sauces rather than
cream based and you'll enjoy a considerable calorie savings.
Lastly, ask for the sauce to be served in a separate dish on the
side so you can control the amount you eat.

4. Think about what you're drinking with your meal. By not
ordering an alcoholic beverage, you've saved yourself a
considerable number of calories. Try sipping iced tea sweetened
with a noncaloric sweetener, a diet soft drink, or water with
lemon. You'll be glad you did when you consider the calorie

5. Indulge your sweet tooth wisely. Many of the chain restaurants
now offer a low fat or low carbohydrate dessert selection such as
a low carb cheesecake. These are wise choices for the health
conscious eater and still allow you to end the meal on a sweet
note. If a healthy dessert option isn't available, try a cup of
coffee with skim milk to help satiate your desire for something

6. Learn to control your portions. Many restaurants are serving
larger quantities of food than in the past. If this is the case,
put aside a portion of your entree at the beginning of the meal
to take home with you. If you remove it from your plate before
you start eating, you'll be less tempted to overindulge.

By following these steps, you can make your dining experiences
not only healthy, but enjoyable. Your heart will thank you!

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes
only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any
disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any
health care program.

About the Author

Emily Clark is editor at Lifestyle Health News and Medical Health News
where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on
many medical, health and lifestyle topics.