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Dodge the Fat When Dining Out

Eat healthy when you go to restaurants

SUNDAY, Dec. 15, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Many people go out for restaurant meals over the holidays, but eating out doesn't have to mean unhealthy eating.

Appetizers, large portions and decadent desserts in restaurants can all pose tempting dangers to people trying to maintain a healthy diet. Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center offers advice on how to eat healthy when you're dining out.

Call the restaurant to find out if it offers healthy food choices on the menu, so that you don't have to wait until you get there to learn what's available.

Learn the cooking terminology. You should know that poached, roasted or steamed are low-fat cooking methods. If food is buttered, fried, escalloped or au gratin, then it contains higher amounts of fat.

Don't be afraid to ask questions or to ask if you can make changes to menu selections. Waiters can provide information about the food, such as the types of sauces, low-calorie dressing choices, and side dish options. You should feel free to ask that particular items, such as high-fat sauces, be left off your meal or for the waiter to bring you sherbet for dessert instead of cake.

If a restaurant refuses to accommodate your requests, go to another restaurant the next time you dine out.

Watch your portion size. Even if it's an unbelievable deal, don't get the super-sized meal. In fact, you might want to order a children's meal to get smaller portions, fewer calories and less fat.

If you go to a fast-food restaurant, select one that offers healthier food selections such as plain baked potatoes, chili, salads and vegetarian burgers.

More information

The University of Illinois has more about healthy holiday eating away from home.

SOURCE: Wake Forest University School of Medicine, news release, December 2002
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