Summer Dining Out Dos and Don’ts

by Brooke on May 29, 2012

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I love eating outside on warm Summer nights!  Last Thursday night, I enjoyed a tasty sushi dinner while sitting outside and people watching.   Just remember, it is important to enjoy those summer night dinners without increasing your waistline. 

Here are some eating out tips by Renee Clerkin, RD, LDN, CLT

DON’T go to the restaurant starving

Going to a restaurant famished is the quickest way to blow your healthy habits.  Eat a light snack such as a piece of fruit or veggies and dip one to two hours before dinner.  This way your dining decisions are reasonable, not desperate.

DO pay attention to preparation

Pay attention to the adjectives used to describe your dish.  These words give you insight on how your food was prepared so you can pick the healthier options with lower calories. Here are a few words to watch out for:

Good Picks: baked, broiled, grilled, steamed, stir-fried, roasted

Bad Picks: battered, béarnaise, breaded, buttered, cheesy, creamed/creamy, crispy, crunchy, fried, loaded, smothered

DON’T get started on the wrong foot

Some appetizers can carry up to twice or even triple the amount of calories compared to the average meal.  Steer clear from anything fried, loaded with cheese, or bottomless (including bread baskets).  Aim for a vegetable appetizer or opt to start your meal off with a salad or broth based soup.

DO swap your sides

Salads and vegetables make much healthier sides than French fries and onion rings.  You can save anywhere from 150 – 400 calories just by swapping your side of fries for seasonal vegetables or a side salad.

DO “undress” your entrée

Order sauces, dips, and dressings on the side.  That way you can control the amount that goes on and in your food.  Just a reminder that red sauces and vinaigrette’s are usually healthier options with less calories and added fat.

DON’T eat mindlessly

Dining out can be distracting.  Delicious food plus conversations and an effortless environment can equal mindlessly overeating.  Slow down and pay attention to eating your food.  A great tip is to set your silverware down every couple bites to stop the mindless pattern and focus on your food and your company.

DO eat tapas style

Eating tapas style or sharing a little bit of everything allows you to get a bite of everything without eating too much of anything.

-Order a salad or soup as a starter and split the main entrée

-Split an appetizer, main entrée, and dessert.  Having half of all three courses is usually the perfect amount.


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