Eat Like HG Lisa: 5 Healthy Dining-Out Tips

Apr 12 2017 Hi Hungry Girl,

I wish I had YOUR brain in my head when it comes to dining out. (I mean that in a non-creepy way!) Can you share with me how you eat when you go out to dinner?

Hungry for Dining-Out Tips Hi Hungry,

While I can't loan out my brain at this point, I'd be happy to share my go-to tips for eating smart at a restaurant. By now, these habits are second nature to me and don't require a lot of effort, and that makes dining out fun! Give 'em a shot, and soon they'll be second nature for you too...

Be wary of the bread basket.

I tend to stay away from this carby, high-calorie diet trap. I once read a statistic that the average bread eater takes in 500 calories from bread & butter per restaurant meal... and that's before the entrée even arrives! So skip the stuff, if you can...

Don't read the whole menu.

Surprised? Don't be! There are certain sections of the menu I don't even look at... the ones packed with unhealthy/high-calorie foods I don't need on my plate. For example, pasta entrées or "From the Fryer." Why tempt myself? And when I come across certain buzzwords, I stop reading. I'll immediately move on if I see words like “creamy," “cheesy,” or “fried."

Order an appetizer.

Usually, you're pretty hungry when you get to a restaurant. (At least, I am!) So get the meal off to a smart beginning with a healthy starter. I choose a protein-based appetizer (like shrimp cocktail or steamed mussels), salad (light dressing on the side; dip, don't pour), or broth-based soup (beware of creamy soups). Fun fact: Studies have shown that starting your meal with broth-based soup helps you take in fewer calories overall! I've definitely found this to be true.

Make lean protein the centerpiece of your meal.

Protein, protein, protein! It fills me up and keeps me satisfied, so I'm not tempted to stick my fork into my tablemate's mountain of pasta! Think chicken, fish, or a lean cut of steak. And stick with simple preparations like broiled, baked, or grilled. If the meal comes with a carby side like potatoes or rice, I ask for double veggies instead (steamed or grilled with very little oil).

Skip dessert.

I hardly ever get dessert. If I've ordered smart so far, I'm not even hungry. If I do get dessert, I'll have some berries. (Even if they're not on the menu, ask if they're available.) If everyone is sharing something that looks AMAZING, I'll sometimes have a spoonful or two of that.

There you have it. Good luck!

Chew on this:

Today, April 12th, is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. Click for a slew of recipes!

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