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How to Eat Healthy at an Unhealthy Restaurant



While, for most people, eating out is a treat, it is still a time when many want to watch their waistline. For good reason, too. At some restaurants, a single dish or appetizer can set you back an entire day’s worth of calories. By sticking to some guidelines, you can avoid turning a treat into a diet disaster.

1.     Careful With the Salads

Just because a dish has the word “salad” in it, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Options like chicken or tuna salad using include gobs on mayonnaise that greatly increase the calorie and fat count of the meal. Regular, leafy salads can also be fattening if they come smothered in a creamy dressing. To be health-conscious, order a leafy salad with your choice of dressing on the side. This way, you will control the number of additional calories that go into your meal. To be even more calorie-conscious, skip the creamy dressing and stick to vinaigrettes.

2.     Avoid the Freebies

Sometimes one of the highlights of going to a restaurant is the big basket of complimentary bread or chips that are served to the table before the meal arrives. If you want to save yourself close to 500 calories, skip the basket of freebies altogether. Even without butter or dips, you’re looking at a meal’s worth of calories right in that basket.

3.     Beware of Preparation

Always be aware of how the dish you’re ordering is cooked. Obviously choices to avoid are dishes that include the words “fried” or “battered.” These are sure signs that your meal will come accompanied by hundreds of calories worth of oil. Instead, always ask if your meal can be broiled or baked and always ask for no or low butter or oil. It’s less of a surprise when customers want to order healthier in 2012 than it was 10 or 20 years ago, so many restaurants are very accommodating.

4.     Skip Dessert

Unless it’s a truly special occasion, like an anniversary or birthday, skip the dessert. Even for the rare occasion that you are tempted by the dessert menu, instead plan to eat dessert at home. You’ll save money and, more importantly, calories. Portion sizes and cooking methods of desserts in restaurants are much unhealthier than most options in the grocery store. Stick to simple sundaes at home if you desire an after-dinner sweet!

Following these tips will certainly save you calories and headaches when it comes to ordering healthy in restaurants.