Portion size is out of control in our country, but we can make smarter choices for our health when we eat in restaurants. One of the best tips is to put your fork down between each bite. This sounds simple, but next time you are out look at the people around you and notice how many take bite after bite without putting their fork down. They clean their plate in less than 8 minutes. It takes 20 minutes for the stomach to send a message to the brain that it is full and by that time most people have all but licked their plates clean!285_2696606

Here are just a few tips that I give my clients about how to make great selections from the menu when you are out enjoying a meal:

  • It is a simple formula that is widely used but important to adhere to- fill 2/3 your plate with greens or vegetables and 1/3 plate lean protein
  • Just say NO to bread, chips and salsa and other starchy filler foods and apps
  • Avoid sauces and creams they are hidden sources of calories and fat
  • Avoid anything with words crispy, fried, breaded, glazed, and even sautéed (as that usually means drowning in butter)
  • Avoid cheese and croutons on salads and ask for dressing on the side (a better option is oil and vinegar on the side)
  • Find a protein you like on the menu, order it grilled or broiled with olive oil (no butter)
  • Order 2 sides of fresh vegetables- grilled or roasted lightly in olive oil (no butter)
  • Keep your eyes on your own plate as others diners don’t have the same health goals as you
  • If you are drinking with dinner, drink a glass of water before ordering first drink, then 2 glasses of water between each drink thereafter

If you know you are going out, don’t starve yourself all day. That will cause you to be ravenous and you could end up eating the whole basket of bread before remembering you were going to pass on it. Simple choices can add up to much better habits which can lead to lasting healthy decisions. The most important thing you can do is focus on enjoying the company you are dining with and savor the experience!