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Top 10 Healthy Hints for Eating Out

Double Dinner DateThese days, eating out is not a special occasion; it’s “family survival” for many Americans. You don’t have to let restaurant options derail a healthy eating goal. With some self-control, tips and healthy choices, you and your family can enjoy the convenience and relaxation of a meal out together — with no dishes to clean up! Here are 10 tips for healthy eating out:

  1. Say “no” to the soft drinks. If you don’t keep sugary soft drinks in your house, keep that healthy decision at the restaurant too.
  2. Start your meal with water and sip throughout your meal.
  3. Check for high-calorie foods disguised as “healthy,” such as a Cobb salad or even sushi. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration introduced new regulations that now require calorie information on restaurant menus, menu boards and on vending machines. This is a game changer and will help you stay within your desired calorie consumption range!
  4. Request that your meal be made with less oil or butter if possible.
  5. Choose dishes with high protein meats.
  6. Share meals. There’s a reason why portion control makes a big difference to your waistline. Restaurants tend to double, even triple what a healthy adult portion should be. Splitting a dish with your spouse or friend will still give you both quite enough to satisfy your hunger without over indulging. If no one wants to split, eat half and take the rest home for lunch the next day. (Begin your meal by taking half away so you don’t keep going.)
  7. Go for the low-calorie menu options. Many menus now feature a “lighter side” option.
  8. Substitutes are your friend! Substitute vegetables or low-fat cups of soup for chips or fries.
  9. Skip the bread or tortilla chips. You’d be surprised how many extra calories we mindlessly pack on while waiting for the actual meal to come.
  10. Resist temptation. As tempting as dessert can be, remind yourself that this would not be on the “menu” at home. You don’t need it! (Of course, every once in a while, treat yourself.)

With Americans eating about a third of their meals at restaurants, it is no wonder the calories can sneak up on us if we’re not careful. With some vigilance and a lot of self-control, you certainly don’t have to give up your nights out to stay healthy. Besides, who wants to do dishes anyway?

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