Eat Out and Still Lose Weight
Healthy Eating Tips
You've booked a big dinner, so you skip lunch. Sound familiar? Don't. By the time you arrive at the restaurant you're famished, and hello -- here's the bread basket! Two or three pieces later (with butter, of course), you've inhaled a couple hundred calories -- and you haven't even spoken to the waiter.
From now on, ditch the starve-yourself-all-day routine. Instead, eat a light lunch, such as a salad with chicken and veggies and a whole-grain roll. Then in the late afternoon, have a small snack -- a container of low-fat yogurt, a handful of almonds (about one ounce), or a cube of low-fat cheese. Keeping your hunger under control means you won't dive into the bread basket the moment you're shown to your table.
Go easy on the wine.
If you want a glass of pinot noir, by all means have it. Just don't go overboard. One study found that women who indulged in more than two drinks a day consumed nearly 30 percent more calories. Stick to one glass of wine -- which is what the American Medical Association advises as best for your health.
Beware of dishes labeled "light."
More and more restaurants are promoting low-cal, good-for-you choices -- and we love that! -- but unfortunately, the claim isn't always true. Case in point: One so-called healthy dish we recently saw on a chain-restaurant menu was a large steak covered with gorgonzola cheese, and vegetables cooked in butter. The waitress explained that it qualified as a "spa" selection because it was low in carbs. Yes, but it was loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat and calories! Read the menu carefully. Look for a balance of lean protein (fish, chicken breast, pork tenderloin, strip steak), complex carbohydrates (brown rice, whole wheat pasta) and monounsaturated fats (canola or olive oil). If you want more information to help you choose the healthiest meals, go to the restaurant's Web site ahead of time to see if they list nutritional information for each dish.
Practice portion control.
Eat three-quarters of what's on your plate and then stop. According to James Hill, PhD, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado, this one simple step can easily shave up to 300 calories off your meal. What's more, you'll be so satisfied from eating 75 percent of your dinner that you'll barely miss those extra few bites.
Be smart about salad.
At the salad bar, fill your plate with veggies, greens, chickpeas, and edamame, and top it with one or two tablespoons of low-fat dressing. Limit the bacon bits, cheese, croutons, and creamy dressings -- or skip them entirely. Ditto for pasta, tuna, or chicken salads swimming in mayo. If you can't resist, serve yourself just a quarter-cup serving.
Pick the best protein.
Gotta have a steak? A 10-ounce rib-eye can pack 780 calories or more. Instead, order leaner cuts of beef, such as tenderloin, flank steak, or strip. The recommended serving size is approximately 5 ounces (about the size of the palm of your hand). If the restaurant doesn't offer one that small, cut your portion in half and take the rest home.
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