MealDiva’s Tips on Eating Out:
Nearly all the chains have added healthier options to their menus—if you know how to look for them. You can also rely on these tips to help making eating out a healthier treat:
1. Ask for it your way. Dining out is no time to be a quiet consumer. For instance, if an item is fried, ask for it grilled. If it comes with french fries, ask for a side of veggies instead.
2. Ask to “triple the vegetables, please.”
3. Beware of the low-carb options. Restaurant chains all seem to have these options now but they aren’t always healthy because low-carb doesn’t always equal low-calories. For instance, at Ruby Tuesday the Low-Carb New Orleans Seafood packs 710 calories and 42 grams of fat! A much better bet—the Low Carb Veggie Platter—leaves you with just 297 calories and 16 grams of fat.
4. Try double appetizers or small plates. If there is a nice selection of seafood- and vegetable-based appetizers, consider skipping the entrée and having two appetizers for your meal. Often, that is more than enough food to fill you up. The Gladstone Tavern in Gladstone, NJ often has small plates that are delicious and pretty healthy for you.
5. Order a salad before ordering anything else on the menu. But remember: Salads shouldn’t be fatty. This is a vegetable course—keep it tasty but healthy. That means avoiding anything in a creamy sauce (coleslaw, pasta salads, and potato salads), and skipping the bacon bits and fried noodles.For more information, check out my article about eating salads at restaurants.
6. Watch the add-ons to vegetable salads. Even salads that are mostly raw vegetables are a problem if they’re loaded with fried chicken, cheese or deli meats.
7. Read between the lines. Any menu description that uses the words creamy, breaded, crisp, sauced, or stuffed is likely loaded with hidden fats—much of it saturated and/or trans fats. Other words that are suspicious and you should question before ordering are: buttered, sautéed, pan-fried and especially au gratin, Never order Alfredo anything.
8. Ask the waiter to skip the bread basket and skip the soda.
9. Drink water throughout the meal.
10. Skip the dessert or order a sorbet.