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Beating Restaurants at Their Own Game!

Over a Dozen Dining Out Tips


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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. Report
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. Report
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!! Report
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. Report
I have to take exception to the advice to not go to buffet-style restaurants. If you can't trust yourself to find good choices where YOU control the portions, how can you trust yourself with a plate of food you had no control over?

Personally, I like going to a buffet - and loading up on fruit and veggies. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I just try to stay away from the dessert bar. Hah! Report
I went to The Keg a few months ago, got home and went to log the calories into SP. My gosh I ate 2,700 calories at that meal alone !!! It was sooo good, but my system was off for a few days afterwards. Not used to the large portions or sauces, etc. anymore. Would I order this meal again, absolutely, BUT will not eat out of the bread basket, not eat the whole plate...plain baked potatoe and add my toppings myself; get salad dressing on the side....small changes without sacrifice. BUT I don't eat out often at all. Last time I went to The Keg for dinner was 5 years ago. Report
I also like to look at the online menu before going, especially if I'm going with someone else. That way I can choose healthier alternatives before all of the smells of fattening food suck me in, and whoever I'm with will be able to keep me on track by reminding me. Report
I love Japanese food, seems less greasy than other types of foods.

I know I won't be getting my favorite food anymore. Outback has a habit of not putting specific nutrition stats on their website. I found out from another site that the Bloomin' Onion has 2,275 calories, 203 grams of fat, 194 carbs, and over 6,000 sodium. No thanks, lol. Even half (what I normally eat) is *way* too much. Report
I'm going to try this; I'm a iconic kind of person. I like the idea of getting a mental image to help me. Report
I'm glad I live in Canada now where the portions are much much smaller and more reasonable than in U.S. restaurants. It's funny to hear how shocked some of my friends are at the portion sizes when they return from a visit to the States. It helps me to eat less at restaurants when the portion sizes are only a little bit bigger than what you would at home. Report
Try the Spark Bikini diet.
It's not really a diet, but just a sensible way to load your plate with the proper sized portions. It's pretty cute and easy to remember too! Report
With the price of all you can eat Buffets at $9.50 a person, you feel obligated to eat your monies worth!! I recently went to dinner with a friend and she got the buffet and I ordered off the menu for myself and a takeout combo for my HB. My bill was the same as my friends. I ate less and saved money!! Report
I just LOVE those all you can eat Chinese places so what works for me is ... sit as far away from the food serving area as possible (hey every step burns a calorie and they do add up LOL , also if you don't see them bringing out more of your faves then you're not nearly as tempted to go back and get more). I get the salad size plates to limit myself in how much I can get at one time and start with the dessert bar since that's where my fave place puts the fresh fruit and peel and eat shrimp. If I start with a salad with shrimp on top with just a squeeze of lemon and black pepper for dressing and fresh fruit by the time I finish that and go back for more I can usually manage to get just a little bit of my favorites and leave the rest of it alone. The other REALLY big helper for me is to make sure that the wait staff know ahead of time that if my glass of tea sits empty for more than 5 minutes they will NOT get a tip but that if it is NEVER empty they will receive at least 25% of my TOTAL bill (including the kid's meals). I know that sounds like a lot but I'm willing to pay the price of an extra meal just to keep me in line and when I have plenty to drink I only eat about half as much as when I don't. Report
TIPS FOR BUFFET MUNCHING: When going to an all-you-can-eat buffet, get a spoonful of what you like but don't let any of the food touch--leave a space between each item. Fill two-thirds of the plate with veggies and fruit and only one-third of the plate with meat and starch. Report

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