How to Eat Healthy at Restaurants

by Natalie Weiss | August 17th, 2011 | Nutrition

August is here. This means many of us will be taking off for summer vacations. It can be very difficult to maintain a weight loss program while traveling, because many meals are eaten out at restaurants. It is possible to eat healthy at almost any restaurant; it just takes a little extra thought.

Here are few tips to help you out:

1) Avoid heavy appetizers. Appetizers can either work for or against you.

If you are really, really hungry, an appetizer can prevent you from overeating your dinner and dessert. You must, however, be very careful about appetizers. Best choices include a small dinner salad with a non-creamy dressing, or a cup of broth-based soup. If you are in the mood for seafood,try grilled calamari or chilled (non breaded) shrimp cocktail. The dinner salad is your best go-to option. Though it may not be listed under the appetizer section, most restaurants will have a small dinner salad as an option.

2) Choose a meal from the entree section of the menu. The meals found under the entree section tend to be more balanced than other menu offerings. Usually they consist of some sort of protein, a starch, and a vegetable.

Choose one that has grilled or roasted meat as an option, instead of fried meat. If you are feeling really inspired, consider asking for double vegetables in place of the starch.

3) When given a choice for a side, resist the temptation for french fries. An average small to medium serving of french fries contains about 400 calories. This can easily sabotage your plans for a healthy meal. Fries are traditionally served with sandwiches. With both bread and potatoes, this meal turns out to be very high in starches. Choosing an alternate side will help balance your meal, and reduce calories. Better side choices include fresh fruit, side salad, cottage cheese, grilled vegetables, baked beans, or a cup of broth based soup.

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