Tip #20


Restaurant savvy (strategies for every occasion)

Beating Restaurants at Their Own Game. It's no secret that as consumers we want a bang for our buck. But, if we're watching our waists, it gets a little difficult when your favorite restaurant presents your food on platters instead of dinner plates. Or when they bring out a basketful of tortilla chips or bread and rolls assortment.

Use these tried and true suggestions the next time you step out for a meal:

  • Never go out hungry—you’ll find yourself nibbling on everything that comes your way.
  • Foods that are grilled, baked, steamed, or broiled provide healthy, flavorful alternatives. Ask how an entrée is prepared to ensure that your selection is not drenched in butter or other fattening sauce.
  • For pasta selections, choose a marinara sauce instead of a white or red cream sauce.
  • Order a healthy appetizer, salad, or small-sized entrée as your meal.
  • Select white chicken or turkey meat rather than dark meat, and have the skin removed.
  • Avoid "all you can eat" and buffet-style restaurants.
  • Split a meal with a friend.
  • Get a doggie bag before the meal, and put in a portion of the food when it’s first served.
  • Avoid foods that have been prepared in heavy cream.
  • Eat slowly! Put your fork down between bites. It takes the stomach about 20 minutes to realize that its full.
  • Order your salad or potato with the dressing, butter, sour cream, gravy, and other extras on the side. Remember, dip you fork in the dressing first.
  • Trim all visible fat from meat.
  • Select fresh fruit, sorbet, or frozen yogurt for dessert. Or, have just a sliver or a spoonful of dessert.
  • Watch the alcohol—it’s loaded with calories, and can lower your defenses against food, causing you to eat more.
  • Beware of the breadbasket. It comes early and can be refilled several times. Ask that it be brought with the meal and limit yourself to one serving.
  • Water is your best beverage choice. Tea and coffee are ok, but go very light on the sugar and cream.
  • Don’t be afraid to special order menu items. You're the boss—be in control!

The key is plan what to order in advance, and stick to it! Decide on your priorities before going to the restaurant, and avoid looking at the entire menu.

Simply do the best you can by making smart choices. If you are there for the dessert—then order a light meal or a salad, with dressing on the side. With a few simple strategies, dining out does not have to annihilate your Lean Living efforts.


— Jaime Brenkus Health Tip 20