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11 Ways to Lighten Up Any Restaurant Meal

Eat Healthy--Anywhere!


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  • Great advice! I usually take 1/2 home!
  • Thank you for this article!!!
  • I try to pick the food that is lightest in calories.
  • I would want some of the things mentioned to leave out, like meat, cream, butter. But if I eat only part of the meal , take some home for another day or share with my spouse, it is "eating in moderation" and that works, too.
  • I have been a server in a few different restaurants, and substitutions are long as you're nice about it. I know that most of the places I worked, if there are too many substitutions, you might end up with longer wait times on your food (so expect that), the server may get "yelled" at by the kitchen staff, and it is a lot of extra work / room for error for multiple teams - especially during busy times. Some substitutions even require a manager to do it. From my experience, servers are more than happy to answer as many questions as you have (or check on answers if they need to). I personally just ask for a box at the beginning of the meal & put half of my food in it before I take a bite.I don't mean to sound negative about substitutions, they just have some consequences to be mindful of.
    These are great tips. Another good idea is to go to restaurants that show the amount of calories, like Panera Bread. It makes your life easier!
  • Sharing the meal with a friend is one of the easiest ways to indulge in a less-healthy meal without going overboard. We also like to order an extra plate of veggies or fruit to get more nutrients in.
    I was pleased with this article until I got to the substitutions. Why would you want to replace the meat in a pasta dish with only veggies? Veggies are great, but now you have a carb only meal with very little protein! Instead of meatballs, ask for a grilled chicken breast and whole wheat pasta. Replace meat with beans? Unless you are a vegetarian why do you need to do this? We need protein in our diet!! It keeps you fuller longer and helps retain those muscles that everyone needs!
  • I eat out quite a lot. I fist look up menue check it out. . Most times know ahead what I will order. If in doubt of prep I ask for changes and have always got them. A buffet is usually a good place to pick and choose foods lower in calories.but it's more tempting, so unless you have control, stay away from. There are certain ingredients I can't and won't eat so if in doubt, I aways ask.
    I ask for container in the beginning and put half of my entree away. It's my lunch for the next day. I move bread,butter away from my area. Out of sight, out of mind.
    After a while you get so used to eating a certain way, ordering from a menue becomes more comfortable..
    There are some restaurants that I won't got to for the foods that serve are not what I eat or want to eat. I don't want to be limited to a salad, and chicken..
  • I love the idea of asking for extra veggies instead of meat. I don't each much meat these days (maybe one meal every one to two weeks) and never thought to just get a dish that has meat and ask them to sub in more veggies. Thanks!
  • Helpful tips thanks. I've got a lot better about asking questions in restaurants. With chain restaurant it's easier to cheat and check the menu online for the lowe cal options before you go. If a chain restaurant doesn't have the calorie or nutrition information available online I always email them to ask them why not. I can understand smaller restaurants can't always do this but for big chains I don't think there's any excuse! And I always let them know that because this information isn't available it might influence my decision on whether to go there.
    I agree with AZCHICA2006. Dining out is a luxury not an entitlement. For good service, I generally tip %15 plus another 50 cents for each and every "please leave off all the sour cream and cheese" "Please put the dressing on the side." To me this is just simple respect and treating others the way I would want to be treated. If my budget is too tight then I cook at home or go to a self- serve Soup and Salad where I can do those things for myself. Side benefit - when I return to a restaurant I am often remembered and greeted with joy. That is a great reward for simple good manners.
  • Wish I'd read this article 3 days ago when I met a friend for dinner. My idea of Greek lemon soup was broth based, but what I got - because I assumed - was a thick, white lemony soup. To boot, my broiled scallops were dripping with butter. I never thought to ask how the food is prepped. Our waitress was terrific and I know she would have happily to obliged any questions. Instead I consumed many more calories than planned. Bright side: it was a fine Italian restaurant, and the food was fresh and delicious!
  • What should I eat at a chinese restaraunt that is always an all you can eat buffett. This is the place my family loves to eat at. I don't know how I can eat well there unless I just don't eat much.
  • I try to read the nutrition facts, either online before we go or ask at the restaurant. I wish I had done that today, though--I found out after the fact that the oatmeal raisin cookie had more calories than my sandwich!!!

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