Megna Nutrition Associates, Inc.

Published Articles

Published in: Metrowest Daily News
By: Camille Hendsbee, RD, LDN/Daily News Correspondent
Posted May. 19, 2015 at 7:41 PM

NUTRITION NOTES: Tips For Being Restaurant Savvy

   Dining out has become, and will mostly likely stay, one of America’s favorite pastimes. Is it possible to make this fun event healthy and keep us on track with our nutrition goals?

   We already know that most restaurants serve giant portions of food, and they are using those wonderful evolutionary triggers to tempt us - fat, salt and sugar. Under these circumstances, it generally is very hard, but here are some great tips to employ:

Limit the number of times you do go out.
    Remember, that this includes all three meals - breakfast lunch and dinner. If you know that going out will occur on just a certain night, it will make that night more special and you won’t have to be subjected to temptation as much.

Download restaurant menus.
    Think of several restaurants you frequent and download their menus and become familiar with what they serve ahead of time. This will give you time to think about your choices and alleviate last-minute decisions that could lead you astray.

Menu nutritional information.
    Obtain nutritional information either from the restaurant site or another site so you can be fully aware of the content of your choices. You may think that the chicken broccoli penne dish sounds healthy and yet be surprised at the calorie/fat content.

Before you venture out.
   Take a moment and think about what you would like to eat when you arrive. Get creative and think out of the box. The menu can be seen as a list of suggestions. Ask the waiter/waitress if you could possibly have the entree you choose broiled instead of fried; without the sauce or sauce on the side. Many chefs enjoy veering away from the menu to display their creativity

"Can I start you out with a drink?"
    Famous words. Remember, alcohol generally is where a restaurant makes its money. Train yourself to say, "thank you, I would love a water with lemon to start." This gives you more time to think about what you would like or not like to have.

    Many appetizers can become full meals. Think about ordering that crab cake appetizer as your entree with a small baked potato, vegetable of the day (no butter sauce, thank you) and a side vegetable salad (ordered to come with the meal) with dressing on the side). Finish off with a fresh fruit cup and you have a whole beautiful meal ahead of you.

That wonderful breadbasket.
    Remember that you can request that it not be served at all or ask for just a few slices, one for each guest.

Gauge your portions when your meal arrives.
    If your meal is presented to you and it is still more than you know you should eat, make a pact with yourself first to eat only so much and bring home the rest for lunch the following day.

"There's always room for dessert."
   You do not have to deprive yourself of a treat after your meal. Remember, you only have gone out once this week! Share your dessert with another guest, though, and try to choose fruit-based options to allow yourself a little better nutrition, rather than that cheesecake.

   Most of all have a wonderful time, enjoy your company and feel fantastic that you made wonderful choices.

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