Tips when eating out in a restaurant

Eating out can be a dieter’s biggest challenge. A restaurant’s goal is to make food as tasty as possible without regard to health or calorie content. Healthy people need to be healthy food detectives when eating out.

Here is a guide on what to choose when eating out at your favorite cuisines without sacrificing your weight loss efforts.

Italian restaurant: Start with a soup, starter salad and finish with grilled fish.

Soups and salads are excellent ways to fill up at restaurants without filling up on calories. Minestrone soup is packed with filling vegetables and flavor and has 100 calories less than a cream based soup. A house salad is a great starter as well. Non-starchy vegetables are low in calories, at about 30 calories per cup, and are high in fiber and contain beneficial compounds known as phytonutrients. Be sure to ask for your dressing on the side and dip your fork first in the dressing and then in the salad.

For your main course, choose: grilled, poached or roasted fish, rather than breaded or fried, to avoid extra fat and carbohydrates. If you must have dessert, order a small portion of fresh fruit. A half-cup serving of fruit contains just 50 calories while the same serving of ice cream contains 200 calories.

Japanese restaurant: Edamame, salad, miso soup, fresh sashimi or grilled shrimp, naruto roll.

Japanese menus emphasize lean protein and vegetables. Order some edamame to snack on while you choose the rest of your meal. A half a cup of edamame has 8 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber and only 80 calories. It will help you fill up and eat less during your meal. Choosing a seaweed or cucumber salad and a miso soup will further help you fill up on minimal calories. One sushi roll can have up to 45 grams of carbohydrates, which is equivalent to 3 slices of white bread. Try a Naruto roll, which is wrapped in cucumber instead. It will provide you with that satisfying crunch at a third of the calories and none of the carbohydrates. If you don’t like raw fish, pick a lean protein that is grilled for your main dish. Also, try eating your entire meal with chopsticks. In addition to being fun, it will slow down your eating and reduce your likelihood of overeating.