How to make good choices in restaurants

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There's no need to avoid eating at restaurants just because you're on a fat burning nutrition program. You can construct meals of lean proteins and complex carbohydrates just as easily at a restaurant as you can in your own kitchen. You just need to know what to ask for. You must carefully read menus, watch for danger items, learn how to make sensible selections, know how your food is prepared, and don't hesitate to tell your server exactly what you want and how you want it prepared. Pay very close attention to calories; restaurant portions are often oversized and extra calories from butter, oils and sauces are frequently added, but not noticed. Make up your mind before you even set foot in the restaurant that you're going to stick with your program.

Of course, you can indulge occasionally, but there's no excuse these days for completely blowing your diet just because you're eating out. Nowadays almost all restaurants are accommodating healthy eaters. Even fast food restaurants now have salad bars, low calorie dressings, grilled sandwiches, sugar free frozen yogurt, and bagels. Use the following Do's & Don'ts to help you eat healthier when dining out.

• DON'T order restaurant or fast food burgers, they are usually loaded with fat and very high in calories. Instead, choose a grilled chicken or turkey breast sandwich.

• DON'T order cheese, cream, egg, or onion soups. Instead choose clear, broth-based soups with noodles or vegetables.

• DON'T order foods described as buttered, buttery, in butter sauce, prime, stuffed, sautéed, fried, pan fried, batter-dipped, creamed, in cream sauce, in cheese sauce, in its own gravy, hollandaise, béarnaise, beurre blanc, parmigiana, parmesan, alfredo, au gratin, au lait, a la mode, au fromage, basted, marinated, or escalloped.

• DON'T put croutons, bacon bits, ham, creamy dressing & other high fat toppings on salads.

• DON'T order croissants, pastries, biscuits, butter rolls, or regular muffins.

• DON'T order traditional desserts. If you must, split one dessert with a friend.

• DON'T feel that you must eat everything on your plate.

• DO order food described as broiled, grilled, poached, roasted, baked or steamed

• DO order whole grain breads, toast, breadsticks, rolls, or pitas (no butter).

• DO order your vegetables steamed.

• DO order fresh fruit (no whipped cream or toppings).

• DO order grilled (not fried) chicken breasts and make sure skin is removed.

• DO order red pasta sauces instead of creamy white sauces (like alfredo).

• DO order entrees containing chicken, fish, seafood, rice, potatoes, and vegetables.

• DO order your baked potatoes plain (no butter, no sour cream, no bacon bits).

• DO order green & tossed salads without the high-fat toppings (bacon bits, cheese, croutons).

• DO order low calorie salad dressings.

• DO order low calorie syrup for pancakes (preferably whole wheat or buckwheat).

• DO order bagels or low-fat/sugar-free muffins at breakfast instead of donuts or pastries.

• DO order your eggs cooked with whites only or no more than 1 yolk.

• DO order beverages such as low fat or skim milk, diet sodas, fruit juice, tea, coffee.

• DO use freely spices, pepper, herbs, mustard, lemon juice and vinegar.

• DO order desserts including frozen yogurt, frozen fruit ices, sugar-free jello.

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