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Beating Restaurants at Their Own Game!

Over a Dozen Dining Out Tips


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    I never eat out! I am always worried about what the hidden calories and fat! I'm worried that when I go on vacation I'll feel helpless. This article has helped a little bit. I think I will try and bring my breakfast and snacks so I won't have too much to worry about. I will do my best to take my time eating and try and look up the restaurants before we go anywhere! Thanks SP! Wish me luck! I would be so upset if I came back gaining weight!
  • Planning ahead is key for me -- esp. when I know we're going to eat out. I can check out online menus and nutrition info (often available) and have a plan for dinner, then choose lunch & snacks during the day to complement dinner. I've been amazed that I CAN go out & have a nice meal without ruining my healthy eating for the day!
  • I went online and printed out the nutritional menu info for all the national restaurants in my area. I put them in a binder, so, I decide what I'm going to eat by checking that in the car before I even go into the restaurant.

    I've also chosen one restaurant in my small town to patronize, almost exclusively. I talked with the owner, and she now keeps a bag of chicken breasts in the freezer and stocks fat free salad dressing. So, now, I can go in with friends and order grilled chicken and a side salad. It's really simplified things for me - and - I can go out and socialize! A side benefit is now that the restaurant is stocking healthy options, other folks in town have started ordering them as well. It's a win-win situation!
    I, too, think buffets can be Golden. I mean.. your own kitchen in a buffet. You can handle yourself in there, you can do it out of your comfort zone, also!

    And as for dressing, I hear what you are saying about putting more on if you get it on the side. But the fork tine method is perfect. Not every bite has to have the taste of ranch on it! :)
  • It is helpful to me not only to plan what I'll eat in advance but to share my plan with my wife or someone I'll be with. Verbalizing the plan helps me be accountable. It also helps if I get salad dressing on the side and stick the tines of the fork into it, then spear the salad. I get the taste without the high amount!
  • I think Becky's tip about having a game plan and sticking to it is the best advice about eating out. When I can, I research the menu & find the healthiest options. Otherwise I now go to a restuarant and play a sort of game - find what's healthiest, set my mind and shut that menu!

    I also love the idea of a salad and dessert. I have a sweet tooth and if a place has great desserts than I'm willing to pass up main course in favor of what I really want. Plus, most places have such big salads now that if I eat all of those veggies, most of the time I don't even need to eat the whole dessert.
    I'm allergic to egg yolk which comes in handy when we go out; i ask them to remove the egg from ANY salad I order and of course, not serve the dressing at all (I use balsamic vinegar); I don't eat bread b/c they only provide white bread and i don't like it
    I usually order grilled chicken/fish wt a salad and no side item. And no dessert. EVER!
    With the salad dressing on the side...The best way to beat the salad dressing blues by using to much dressing, is to lightly dip your fork into the dressing then into the salad.
    When you get the dressing on the side you often end up eating more than if you were to toss the salad with a little bit of dressing. If you are at a decent restaurant they will not drown your salad in dressing anyway. If you are at some cheap restaurant where they do, ask them to toss it with very, very light dressing or take a little bit out of the side portion then send it back to the kitchen. I can't tell you how many times I have seen people ask for dressing on the side then use four times what we use when we toss it in the kitchen.
    I work in the corporate office of a franchise for a national pizza chain and I'm always in the restaurants. This information is very beneficial in helping me make the right choices with food constantly around me! :-)
  • I love the all-you-can eat Chinese as well. We go once a month because it's a treat for the children. My strategy is to fill my first plate with veggies, a pickle and some fruit, no dressing. I have to eat that before I can have anything else. My second, and final, plate, I can have anything I want, but it has to be within the bottom of the plate...not allowed to touch the rim of it, and it can only be one layer with a little bit of space between each food item. That way I can have the things I like, but it's still very portion controlled. We order water and green tea with the meal.

    Swiss Chalet is also a great choice for eating out. I love their healthy chicken meal choice with two healthy sides....steamed veggies and garden salad are my favorites.
    I LOVE all you can eat buffets. IF, and only IF, you can stock up your first plate of just veggies and a bit of fruit, that is often all I need. I am full and I have not touched the stuff that is loaded with salt, fat, sugar and calories.
    When I get too much bread, I dip it in my water and make it inedible. And that is the end of the bread at that restuarant!!
  • I like to oreder a child's portion, or ask that a to go box be brought with your dinner and put half the meal in it before you start to eat.
  • What i do in several cases is this: if a particular restaurant doesn't have nutritional info I just don't eat there. I also ask my hubby to share a dish with me. Like we went to olive garden once and split the tour of italy . We each got a little bit of everything. I also order everything with accompaniments on the side. i always order sandwiches with out mayo ( i don't like it at all) and usually without cheese ( because most places don't melt their cheese) If i get a quesadilla I take my time.I know after a quarter of it I wont it the rest because the cheese gets all congelled and I don't eat cheese like that. i know i seem picky but that is how I do things.I do however take the rest home to re-heat.

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