Eating out can be a part of your Body-for-LIFE program. Here are some tips for making it through the potential pitfalls of any menu.
Eat before you go
This may sound counterintuitive, but having a healthy snack before you go out can make it easier to resist the menu's more tempting offerings.
Say no to the breadbasket
This also goes for the bottomless bowls of chips and salsa offered at many Mexican restaurants. There's no need to fill up on empty or fat-filled calories before your meal even starts.
Know the lingo
Read the description for each dish, and avoid ordering anything that contains these words: Buttery, creamy, cheesy, fried, au gratin, alfredo, con queso or sweet-and-sour.
Split an entrée
Restaurant portion sizes are often double what you actually need. Keep your portion sizes in check by sharing an entrée with a friend, or asking the server to take half and put it in a doggy bag before you begin your meal.
Watch out for the salad
Ordering a salad seems like a healthy option, but when it comes loaded with fatty dressing, bacon, fried chicken, cheese or tortilla chips, it could be worse than eating a simple hamburger. Request the dressing on the side, and ask for low-fat versions of your favorites, vinaigrettes or olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Stick with grilled chicken, lean steak, fish or seafood. Go all-out on the veggies, and skip the bacon, cheese and other toppings. And by all means, if your salad comes in a fried tortilla bowl, don't eat the bowl.
Don't be afraid to ask
It's OK to request substitutions, such as steamed vegetables, extra vegetables or a side salad instead of rice or potatoes. You can ask for your chicken, beef or other protein choices to be grilled or broiled, and instead of fatty or creamy sauces, ask for a side of salsa or Worcestershire sauce to boost the flavor.
Save it for your free day
If you're craving an unhealthy dish at your favorite restaurant, set time aside on your free day to enjoy it, without substitutions.