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Avoiding A Menu Meltdown

Avoid a Menu Meltdown – Make smart choices when dining out!

You can stick with your healthy eating habits even when eating out at restaurants. You can enjoy dining out and trying many different cuisines, as long as you don’t forget how to choose healthy foods.

Lots of restaurants now offer special menus for special diet needs and for healthier options. Take advantage of these great food menu alternatives to the regular fare menu!

Here are some great tips to help keep you on target when choosing your meal while dining out:

  1. Appetizer – Choose appetizers with fresh vegetables or fruit. Avoid fried or breaded appetizers. Watch for appetizers with dips or sauces. Pay attention to the portion size or avoid dipping altogether. Or simply pass altogether and save those added calories for the main meal!

2. Soup – Most of the time you are better off avoiding these altogether. Creamed soups or chowders are often high in calories because of the heavy cream and eggs that are added. They can also be very high in sodium content. You are better off choosing fruit or salad instead.

3. Salad – Order a plain salad, with fresh veggies and ask for dressing on the side. Remember the serving size calorie content for dressings is by the Tablespoonful. Chef Salads have added meats and cheeses – these ingredients can add up the fat and calories content pretty quickly! If choosing a “Taco salad” – this would be best as your main meal option as they contain high-calorie, high-sodium items such as cheese, beef and the fried shells.

4. Bread – I know, I know, this is the best part of the beginning of the meal! With so many choices and dipping bread sauces – this part of the meal can quickly add up in calories and carbs just as much as your meal! With butter added also your fats! It’s best to avoid altogether, but if you do want to choose – then choose whole-grain breads or rolls. Eat them plain, and only eat one! And if you can’t eat just one then have none! Ask the waitress or waiter to not bring them to the table. (Out of sight out of mind)

5. Entrée – Look for entrees on the special diet menu, or healthier option menu that indicate low-calorie content. Grilled Chicken Breast, London Broil, Baked or poached Fish.

6. Side Dish – Choose Rice, baked or boiled potatoes or steamed vegetables instead of French fries, potato chips, hash browns, onion rings or side salads like macaroni or potato salad. If ordering potatoes ask for the butter to be on the side, not slathered all over the top.

7. Condiments – Avoid olives or pickles as they are higher in calories and the salt content can be very high. Choose tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce for sandwiches. Be aware of portion control on the mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard. Remember usually a Tablespoon is a serving size for condiments.

8. Alcohol – Obviously, alcohol is high in calories – if counting your calories, you should avoid altogether. Save these calories for your entrée. If you are ordering, limit the drink to just one.

9. Dessert – If you want to have this option, try ordering one with your date and sharing, or opt for the lower calorie ones. Fresh fruit, sorbet or sherbet are great lower calorie, lower sugar alternatives. “When in doubt do without”!

Remember eating out shouldn’t be an every night occurrence! It can be added money to your budget and added pounds to your weight! It should be a pleasant, guilt-free dinner night out experience for you! When you are trying to lose weight, limit to one day a week and remember these great tips and you are good to go!

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