Mitzi Dulan – America's Nutrition Expert
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5 Nutrition Tricks for Dining Out
by Mitzi Dulan, RD, America’s Nutrition Expert®
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I love dining out at different restaurants, especially when I’m travelling for work – it’s a great way to explore new cities!  However, restaurants can be tricky in terms of providing you with a delicious yet nutritionally balanced meal.  It’s fine to enjoy a splurge once in a while, but if you’re heading out to a restaurant for dinner and don’t want to end up uncomfortably full, it’s important to know your options.  Read below for some quick tricks!

  1. Do some homework. Find out what restaurant you are headed to in advance, and then look them up online to find out more about their menu options.  Look for Nutrition Fact information if possible, in order to avoid calorie bombs while enjoying a nice dinner out!
  2. Be menu-savvy. Watch out for certain keywords in the descriptions of menu items that could indicate how they are prepared.  Pay attention to: deep-fried/pan-fried, basted, creamy, crispy, au gratin, breaded, and many more.  Choose options that are grilled, steamed, or baked for healthier choices.
  3. Order outside of the box. Who says you have to order an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert?  If your healthy choices are limited, there’s no reason why you can’t instead order an appetizer and a side dish to come up with your own balanced meal.  Many appetizers are served as a decent portion size, and you can almost always order a side of steamed vegetables.
  4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Unless I’m enjoying a celebratory glass of wine with dinner, I like to stick to water as my drink of choice.  Not only are the other drinks often over-priced, but it’s always better to avoid “liquid calories” where you can.  At the very least, order one glass of your favourite restaurant drink, and then switch to water after that.
  5. Share desserts around the table. Yes, you’ve probably heard this one before.  Again, I certainly like to enjoy a splurge every once in a while for my favourite desserts, but if you’re out for a business dinner and don’t want to blow your healthy diet, consider sharing different desserts.  As a bonus, it allows you to try little bites of more than one dessert if you had a hard time making up your mind from the dessert menu!

Assistance provided by Megan Skinner

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