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Hints for eating out!

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Eating out in a restaurant can be dangerous to your healthy eating goals. Plates are too large and loaded with several meals on one plate. The meals are very tempting to our palate, but they can be very high in calories, saturated fat, salt, and sugar. I offer some hints to mindfully navigate through your restaurant experience.

1. Think twice before you order an appetizer. At a restaurant like The Cheesecake Factory, appetizers like spinach and cheese dip, nachos, and Buffalo wings can have from 1,000 to 1,600 calories. A better idea would be to order a house or side salad, or just wait for your entree.

2. The size of your entree can be two to three times as large as a normal size meal eaten at home. With so much food on your plate you usually eat much more than you need, and have plenty left over for your server to box up to  take home, Idea: When you order you meal, ask your server to box up half of the plate of food before it is served. That way you will not be tempted to eat more you need.

3. When having pizza, order thin crust instead of thick crust. Depending upon the restaurant, thick crust can add up to 800 calories. Also ask for just half the cheese, a whole-grain crust, and veggies instead of meat or multiple cheese toppings.

4. Instead of the high starch and calories of potatoes, rice, or pasta, ask for two sides of vegetables or extra salad.

5. Restaurants like to add cheese in or on nearly every sandwich, salad, pasta, taco, burger, vegetable, soup, and bread. Cheese is very high in calories and saturated fat. You do not need the added cheese.

6. Ice cream is a favorite dessert, but is very high in calories, sugar, and fat. Order the smallest serving of ice cream or frozen yogurt. Have the ice cream in a dish. A cone can add up to 160 calories for a waffle cone.

Dining in a restaurant can be a delectable experience, but enjoy it mindfully and it will be healthy, guilt-free memory.