Healthy Weight Loss Tips

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Healthy eating and dining out

Healthy eating and dining out
Zaak OConan

One of the biggest challenges facing those trying to follow a healthy diet is the local restaurant. Eating out presents special challenges, such as not knowing how the food was prepared, how much fat it contains, and whether or not the healthiest ingredients were used.

Many restaurant chains, and even some fast food restaurants, have recognized the demand for healthier menu choices, and they are working hard to satisfy that demand. All too often, however, the healthy choices on a restaurant menu are limited and unappealing. It is important, therefore to pay close attention to the menu and make the healthiest choices possible.

One of the most important thing diners can do to eat healthy at restaurants is to be proactive. Diners should not be afraid to ask how a dish is prepared, or what ingredients are used in its preparation. If the server does not know, ask him or her to check with the chef. A good chef will be happy to answer such questions, and to make modifications in the recipe if needed. In addition, most restaurants will happily accommodate special needs, such as low fat or low sodium dishes. After all, the restaurant is there to serve its patrons.
Some of our favorite tips for healthy eating in restaurants include:

– One good rule of thumb to use when dining out is to order entrees that are grilled, baked or broiled. Deep fried dishes are best avoided. If you are unsure how a dish is prepared, don’t be afraid to ask.
– Portion size is just as important at the restaurant as they are at home. That means ordering the petit fillet instead of the full size steak, requesting half size portions of French fries, and maybe even forgoing that tempting dessert. Choosing leaner cuts of meat or fish is also a good way to eat healthier.
– When choosing side dishes, ask if steamed vegetables are available. Steamed veggies are an excellent, low fat, low calorie choice for many diners. Vegetables that are fried, au gratin, or prepared in cream or butter sauces are best avoided.
– When ordering salad, ask if fat free choices are available. Most restaurants have several fat free or low fat varieties of salad dressing available. If no low fat option exists, request the dressing on the side so that you can control the amount that is used.
– When ordering soup, choose broth based soups, and avoid bisques or rich soups like cream of crab or cream of broccoli. A simple vegetable soup is a delicious and low fat alternative.
– Replace high fat, high calorie French fries with healthier alternatives such as fresh fruit or an unbuttered baked potato. Most restaurants will be happy to accommodate such special requests.
– In Italian restaurants, stick with the tomato based sauces and avoid cream or heavy Alfredo sauces. A simple pesto sauce without meat is a good choice for most pasta dishes.
– When dining at oriental restaurants, go with the steamed rice and stir fried vegetable entrees. Avoid the heavy sauces and request that your meal be prepared with less oil. In addition, try to choose dishes that feature less meat and more fresh vegetables.
– Choose a light dessert of fresh fruit or sorbet. When ordering traditional desserts, order one and share it with your dining partner.

Finally, when dining at a fast food restaurant, it is important to avoid the temptation of super sizing the meal. Fast food restaurants often make their larger portions more attractive by pricing them competitively, but a big part of healthier eating is to control portion sizes. In addition, most fast food chains now offer healthier alternatives, such as salads and baked potatoes, as well as prominently displayed nutritional information.

While dining out certainly presents challenges to those trying to enjoy a healthy lifestyle, there is no reason to forgo the pleasure of an occasional meal out. By following the guidelines listed above, and by adding some creative tips of your own, you can make dining out a healthy experience as well as a pleasant one.
About the Author

Zaak O’Conan discovers and presents useful information on how to enhance and/or repair your life, body and relationships. You’ll find his other articles on eating better and other ways how to improve your life at

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Eat Out and Lose Weight — 25 Easy &

Eat Out and Lose Weight — 25 Easy & Healthy Tips for Dining Out
Nicky Pilkington

Diners have become more health-conscious the last few years, and
now want healthy choices whether eating at home or at their
favorite restaurants. Luckily, the restaurant industry has been
quick to accommodate the demand, so you’ll find you have many
options to “eat healthy” these days.

Whether you’re eating at home or dining out, the same rules for
watching your weight apply. You need to eat more vegetables,
fruit and whole grains. Choose smaller portions of lean meats,
fish and poultry. Eat a variety of foods, and fresh, raw foods
are better. Cut back on salt, sugar, saturated fats and alcohol.
Drink plenty of water, and include exercise every day as part of
your daily lifestyle choice.

So whether you’re having lunch with the gang, or enjoying a
romantic dinner for two, you can enjoy delicious-tasting foods
that are low-in calories and good for you, with just a little
forethought and planning.

Here are some easy tips to remember when ordering out that will
help you to lose weight even when eating at your favorite

1. If you know the menu from the restaurant you’re going to,
plan what you’re going to have ahead of time. This will help
save you from making a last minute decision that could result in
high-calorie choices.

2. Drink at least one full-glass of water or iced tea before
eating your meal. This helps your digestive process, and,
because you’ll feel full sooner, you will eat less.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for the “senior citizen” special or
kid’s-sized portions. Most restaurants will accommodate you —
and often you’ll pay less as well!

4. Order first. That way you’re much less likely to be
influenced by the choices of your companions.

5. If you’re not sure how something is prepared, don’t be afraid
to ask. And if the dish is cooked in oil or butter, you can
always ask if they have a “fat free” option.

6. If everything on the menu is high in fat or calories, ask if
the chef could prepare a plate of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Many restaurants offer a vegetarian selection, so if you don’t
see it on the menu, ask.

7. When ordering meat or fish, ask that it be grilled or
broiled, and prepared without oil or butter. (When you eat it,
use lemon or herbs and spices to give it flavor rather than
heavy sauces).

8. Order an appetizer and a salad as your meal. Or a soup and
salad. For dessert, choose fresh fruit.

9. When choosing soup, remember that cream-based soups have many
more calories than broth-based ones.

10. If you’re having a full meal, split the appetizer and desert
with your companion.

11. If you decide to order pasta, tomato sauce has fewer
calories than cream-based sauces, just like soup.

12. Choose breadsticks over bread, or if you eat bread, don’t
add butter. Stay away from muffins and croissants, and choose
whole grain over white.

13. Choose steamed vegetables instead of baked potatoes or other
starches. Again, use lemon and herbs and spices rather than
butter to flavor them with.

14. Whenever possible, eat like the Europeans do, and have your
biggest meal at lunchtime. Not only will you save money, but
you’ll cut down on calories at the same time!

15. Take the time to enjoy your meal. Savor the flavors and
textures of your food, and enjoy the company you’re with. When
you eat slowly, you give your body’s internal clock the time it
needs to know when you’ve had enough. When you’re full, stop
eating. Ask your server to remove your plate so you’re not
tempted to keep eating while you wait for your companion to

16. Ask for salsa on your baked potatoes, rather than sour cream
and butter. Not only is salsa much lower in calories, but it
adds a “spicy” flavor to potatoes.

17. Order salad dressings and sauces “on the side.” This gives
you more control of how much to use. Another tip for salad
dressing — rather than pouring the salad dressing on your
salad, dip your fork into the dressing first, and then into the
salad. You’ll get the same amount of flavor, without all the
added calories!

18. Choose brown rice over white rice (or french fries), whole
grain breads and rolls over white. Not only are they lower in
calories, but they are better for you.

19. Stay away from “all you can eat” buffets and salad bars.
It’s too easy to lose track of the amount of food you’re eating,
even when it’s salads. If that’s your only choice, then stay
away from the pasta, marinated salads, cheeses and fruit salads
with whipped cream. Stick to soups, raw vegetables and fresh

20. Have your soup first. It will help to fill you up, and most
soups have fewer calories.

21. If you’re craving something sweet, and don’t want fresh
fruit, choose sorbet. If you absolutely HAVE to have the
chocolate sauce, use the same trick as you did with the salad
dressing — dip your fork into it first, then your dessert.

22. Split your dessert with your companion. You’ll still feel
like you got to be indulgent, and you’ll only have to exercise
half as long to burn off the extra calories!

23. When ordering sandwiches, order them with mustard only,
rather than mayonnaise. Not only does mustard have almost no
calories, but you won’t miss the mayo!

24. If the portion you were served is large, only eat half of
it. Take the other half home. Not only will you get two meals
for the price of one, but you’ll cut the calories in half as

25. Go for a walk after eating. Stroll along the beach, walk
through a park, visit a zoo. You’ll burn calories and get your
exercise at the same time!

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