Dining Out Dilemma

I frequently get asked, “What the heck do I eat when I go out to dinner?”
This depends. If you have been eating clean all week or even longer and want to have a treat meal and not stress about the food, eat what you want and enjoy every bite :)

Now, if this isn’t the case and you are trying to make a healthy decision I will give you some of my tips and tricks when I dine out.

AVOID BUFFETS—disaster waiting to happen.
Always, always, always be kind to your server. Let him/her know that you are trying to be healthy so you may be a little picky when ordering. They will appreciate you letting them know and may even try to help you place the order.
WATER. Avoid alcohol and sugary drinks with tons of empty calories. Try to drink a couple glasses before your meal even comes out.
Avoid appetizers. If the table is getting one and you might feel tempted to have some, order a side salad and ask for it to be brought out with the appetizer.
With salads, avoid creamy dressings. I always ask what the lighter dressings are and typically go with the balsamic vinaigrette. Ask for the dressing on the side. Dip your fork in the dressing instead of pouring the entire thing on your salad. Ask for no cheese, bacon or croutons. Again, they can go on the side if you want just a little.
See if the restaurant has a “lighter side” menu. If they do, this will automatically let you know that these are the “healthier” options on the menu. These meals are typically around 500-600 calories. That should tell you right there how much the other menu items are. Yikes! What you do from here is customize your order even more. Take a salmon dish for example. Ask the waiter if the salmon can be made “virgin style” which means no butter or sauces. Ask for the vegetables to be steamed. Sauteed vegetables are 99% of the time made with butter or sauces. If you are eating starchy complex carbs, ask if they have a brown rice or plain sweet potato. If no carb, ask for a double vegetable.
If there are no lighter side menu options, always stick with fish or chicken breast. I prefer salmon or tilapia.
Ask for whatever meat to be made with no butter or sauces. It is ok to ask for those on the side, although you may be more tempted to use those if they are on the table.
If ordering a pasta, go with a tomato sauce. Creamy dressings like Alfredo are loaded with calories and fat.
Split a meal with a friend since portions tend to be way too big anyways.

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