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How To Save Your Diet When Dining Out

When you eat out at a restaurant, don't let large portions, strange foods or tempting puddings ruin your commitment to eating healthily. By sticking to the following suggestions you can save your diet without giving up the pleasure of eating out.

Choose the restaurant carefully

When you are thinking of eating out be sure to choose restaurants which offer a good variety of foods from which you can pick and choose. Places which server dishes made fresh at the time you place your order are much more likely to be able to accomodate any special requests or changes to the normal preparations.

Ask for advice and explanations

You can rely on your waiter or server to clarify any unfamiliar dishes, foods or terms and you can ask them to explain how a certain dish is prepared. Asking such questions as "Is butter or cream added to the sauce?" or "Is the chicken grilled with or without the skin on?" can give you confidence in your order. Also, don't be afraid to ask "May I have a substitution, please?"

Ignore the categories on a normal menu

Dinner menus tend to be designed in a specific sequence that suggest you should order a starter, soup, salad, main course, dessert and pudding. However, you don't have to order in this manner if you do not want to. It's absolutely fine to order, for example, a starter and soup, followed by a salad or a separate side dish.

Choose meals wisely from menu categories

When you're choosing your food from a menu, follow these guidelines to ensure you make sensible choices.

Starters - Choose starters with vegetables, fruit or fish.

Soups - When choosing soups the best choices are broth or tomato-based soups, such as consomme, gazpacho, mulligatawny or minestrone. Creamed soups, chowders, pureed soups and sometimes fruit soups, can all contain heavy cream and eggs.

Salads - Order lettuce or spinach salads with dressings on the side. Caesar salads and Greek salads tend to be higher in fat. Chef salads are also higher in fat and calories, because they have higher amounts of cheese, eggs and meat.

Side dishes - Choose baked potatoes, boiled new potatoes, steamed vegetables, rice and fresh fruit. Avoid side dishes such as french fries, crisps, onion rings or mayonnaise-based foods. Remember you can ask that no margarine, butters or creams be used to prepare vegetables or rice etc.

Main courses - Look for main courses with descriptions that indicate low-fat content, such as grilled chicken, baked-fish, or grilled ham. Avoid foods which appear high-fat content, such as fried chicken, fried rice or stuffed shrimp. Skip pasta with meat or cheese stuffing, or sauces that contain bacon, butter, cream or eggs.

Puddings - Choose fresh fruit, sorbet, sherberts or yoghurts for healthy puddings.

Alcohol - Don't forget your drinks and limit your alcohol intake accordingly.

When you follow proper guidelines and apply common-sense choices you can enjoy eating out while still sticking to your diet and nutrition plan.
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