All of our experts believe a healthy lifestyle can and should include eating out and the occasional splurge. Here are some tips to keep in mind the next time you are eating out:
•Set a food budget when eating out and research the menu in advance whenever possible.
•Pass on the breadbasket, appetizer or dessert occasionally to avoid extra calories.
•Choose char-grilled over griddle or pan-fried items whenever possible.
•Look for hidden sources of butter and oil in dishes. Even steamed veggies may be soaked in oil first.
•Be cautious about menu items with fried food or thick, rich sauces.
•Prepared salads with dressing may not be the healthiest option, and often have more calories than a Big Mac.
•Wheat or whole-grain pastas are often not 100 percent whole grain and may be colored brown with food coloring.
•Stop eating when you are about 70 percent full.
•Remember, it’s not a splurge if you have a special occasion every week. Pick worthwhile times to splurge.
•Have six or seven pre-approved restaurant options where you know it is easy to make healthy dining choices.
•Don’t be afraid to create your own meals. Dress up a plain salad with a scallop skewer or shrimp appetizer.
For more dining tips, check out the February 2012 issue of Sister 2 Sister.