The DivaGals Guide to Eating Out
(Without Blowing Your Diet!)

By   |   March 2, 2011   |   Fitness

Follow Me on Twitter: NYCNutrition

YouΓÇÖve been looking forward to a nice dinner out with your girls, and you have been working so hard to eat well all week, you are worried that will be hard to do when you head to your favorite dining spot. Nutrition Gal is on the case (and your dining out plate!). Here are a few things to remember when you eat out.

Drink water as soon as you get a glass. That cup or two of H2O will help fill up your tummy so you donΓÇÖt overdo it with the meal.

DonΓÇÖt be afraid to ask for things that are not on the menu. Want to skip the gooey cream sauce or remove that heaping dollop of sour cream atop your healthy baked potato? Just ask. With restaurants now sensitive to patrons who are watching their wasitline, most things can be done!

Pay attention to cooking methods mentioned on the menu. There are some healthier cooking choices to chose from when you’re dining out. Here are the key words to look for (also look for recipes that call for these methods for healthy cooking at home). If how your food is prepared is not specified on the menu, ask about it.

Best preparation methods:

ΓÇó Baked: Generally does not require adding fat (not including baked goods!).
ΓÇó Braised: Browning the food first, then cooking it covered with a small amount of water or broth.
ΓÇó Grilled and/or Broiled: Both methods allow the fat to drip from the food, but pay attention to how charred (blackened) the food is as charred food is carcinogenic (cancer causing) in large amounts.
ΓÇó Poached: Typically done in water or broth.
ΓÇó Roasted: Done at higher temps than baking, but same general technique.
• Sautéed: Quick cooking in small amount of liquid.
ΓÇó Steamed: Perhaps the healthiest way to eat as it preserves nutrients and requires no additives!
ΓÇó Stir-Fried: Quick cooking at a high heat with minimal oils/fats.

Worst preparation methods:

Deep-fried, pan-fried, basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, Alfredo, au gratin or in cream sauce are methods that are usually high in calories, unhealthy fats and/or sodium.

Watch portion sizes. Restaurants are notorious for serving you portion sizes that could feed you — and your two friends at the table. Use the guide below as a way to ΓÇ£eyeballΓÇ¥ the correction portion sizes for your your meal.

ΓÇó 3 oz portion = 1 deck of cards
ΓÇó 4 oz serving size of meat/fish = 1 Blackberry phone
ΓÇó 1 medium sized potato = 1 computer mouse
ΓÇó ┬╜ cup of pasta (a standard serving size) = ┬╜ baseball
ΓÇó 1 pancake or waffle = 1 CD
ΓÇó 1 small muffin = 1 tennis ball (this also the amount of one serving of fruits or veggies)
ΓÇó 1 cup of leafy greens = 2 tennis balls
ΓÇó 1 serving of cheese = 4 dice
ΓÇó 1 tbsp of nut butter = 1 golf ball
ΓÇó 2 servings of cooked rice = 1 light bulb
ΓÇó 1 serving of chips = 1 handful
ΓÇó 1 serving of oil = 1 poker chip

Skip dessert. If you’ve already had a great glass of red wine with your meal, or if you’ve hit the bread basket (hopefully, you haven’t), you may want to forgo dessert. Have a small cappuccino instead. But if that creme br├╗l├⌐e is really calling, get one and share it with your friends so you’re all enjoying┬á just a few decadent bites (and less calories!).

photo credit: Sura Nualpradid/



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