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For many of us, eating out happens more often than we would like to admit. That’s OK, it is not the eating out that is the problem. Rather the choices we make doing it. The good news is that usually there are healthier options at every restaurant, even at fast-food places.

By following some simple guidelines, you can enjoy eating out and still have a healthy diet.

  • Plan ahead. Before you go out to eat, think about where you will eat and what you will select. It will be much easier to make healthy choices if you have already decided what you will order. Select restaurants that have healthy choices.
  • Try not to arrive at the restaurant overly hungry. It’s harder to make healthy food choices when you get too hungry. Try eating a piece of fruit or yogurt before you go out to eat.
  • Think about your portions. Restaurants often serve portions that are enough to feed two or three people. To help you avoid overeating, order smaller portions, split a meal with someone else, or save part of your meal for later.
  • Choose menu items that contain fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Restaurant meals are often low in these things. By adding these foods, you can have a balanced meal.
  • Order water with your meals to lessen the calories consumed.
  • If you want the bread basket just have one serving.
  • Make choices that are grilled, roasted, steamed, baked or poached versus deep or pan fried, sautéed in butter or creamed. Have the dressing or sauces to the side.