Dine out without wrecking your diet

WASHINGTON – Eating out doesn’t have to mean disaster for your diet. With a few smart and healthy decisions, you can enjoy dining out while still keeping your health and fitness goals on track.

Next time you are headed to a restaurant, keep these tips in mind.

Before the Meal

  • Do your research: Most restaurants have their menus available online, so do some research before you settle on a location. Pick a place that offers food options that are lower in fat, such as grilled fish, lean proteins and fresh vegetables.
  • Snack away: No, this does not mean you should fill up before your meal. But eating a planned, low-calorie snack that is high in protein — such as an ounce of cheese, a protein shake or Greek yogurt — might help keep you from raiding the bread basket or going overboard on appetizers.

Ordering and Eating

  • Order first: Say goodbye to table manners. Order before the rest of your table to keep from being tempted by their less-healthy orders.
  • It’s OK to be difficult: Be specific with your order. If you want dressing on the side, make sure the waiter or waitress knows your request. And don’t hesitate to send things back if they are not prepared as you requested.
  • Don’t talk with your mouth full: To help slow down while you are eating, keep conversation going between bites. And while you are talking, put your utensils down.

After the Meal

  • Don’t linger over leftovers: Pack up half of the meal in a doggie bag and take it home for another meal tomorrow.
  • Be selective with dessert: Look for low-fat options, like fresh fruit or sorbet.

Lisa Reed is a certified personal trainer in the D.C. area and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness. Read more about Lisa at www.lisareedfitness.com. Follow @lisareedfitness on Twitter and @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter.

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