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Do Healthy Eating and Dining Out Go Together?

By Peg Baron

It's no secret that food always tastes better when eating it in a restaurant. I think part of the reason is because we don't have to prepare it ourselves and we don't have to do the dishes. But really, the big reason food tastes better when eating out is that the meal has a higher fat content and this gives it more flavor.

Today, many restaurants do give you diet or low fat options on their menu, but these don't always sound appetizing. Keep in mind that many restaurants will let you make changes to the dishes you order. Here are some tips on how to tweak your order:

1. If you must use condiments, use them wisely. Creamy dressings are higher in fat than vinaigrettes. Perhaps instead of high fat mayonnaise you could use ketchup and mustard.

2. Beware the restaurant salad. Some salads are very high in fat. It's not the lettuce but everything else they add in. Take a look at what's offered and pick one that has lower fat toppings. Get the dressing on the side and remove the croutons.

3. Hold the cheese please. This is a relatively painless way to remove fat and calories from your meal.

4. Say no to big buns. If you just have to have a burger, have it without the bun and eat it with your knife and fork. It still tastes great.

5. Grilled instead of breaded. This applies to chicken, fish, and vegetables. Always pick the healthier option.

6. Make your side dish steamed or roasted veggies instead of onion rings or french fries. Avoid that overly-full-sick-feeling after your meal.

7. Baked potato? Limit the amount of potato you eat, limit the butter and toppings, and eat the skin.

8. Drink water with a lemon instead of soda, lemonade, or alcohol. Your body will thank you.

Eating out is a treat but there are a lot of fat-filled land mines to avoid. You can make healthier choices that still taste great and make you feel better. Picking healthier food options becomes easier the more you do it!

Do you need a little help with healthy eating and reaching your weight loss goals? Peggy's got tips and inspiration for you at http://cookinkids.com/weightlosstips

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