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Eating Out

What are your suggestions for eating out. I don't want to skip meals at restaurants with friends or family because of a diet, but how can you tell what you are actually eating (sauces, quantities, etc.)? Even take-away places are problematic: an extra scoop of dressing or serving of cheese in a salad can change it from a 300 calorie salad to a 500 calorie salad (and it is almost impossible to figue out). Any suggestions? Thanks!

Sun. Feb 12, 9:26am

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I try to go to chain restaurants when I'm concerned about sticking to my diet, since they all have the nutritional values of their menu items on their website. And since I understand that quantities of every ingredient are rigidly controlled for quality and uniformity across their restaurants, you're unlikely to screw up. Places like Olive Garden and Friday's and Ruby Tuesday's have some very tasty lite menus.

For salads, get the dressing on the side so you can control it. I believe it usually comes in a 2oz cup (4 Tbsp), so you can do a reasonable job of estimating the calories so you make maybe a 50-cal mistake instead of a 200-cal one. Cheese is not that hard to figure out either -- shred some, weigh an ounce, and look at it, get used to it. Then melt it on a plate in the microwave for a minute and see what that looks when you have a turkey burger with reduced fat cheese, you can guess with some accuracy. Stick to sauces that aren't cream or oil based, since the margin for error in an educated guess will be vastly smaller.

I often take my best guess based on quantity and taste, then tack on another 10% or so just to be safe.

Sunday, February 12, 2006, 9:38 AM

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This link has a list of a TON of resturants, fast food and sit-down with all the nutritional info. I just look at where we will be going and plan what I am going to eat before I go. Takes the guess out of the game!

Sunday, February 12, 2006, 3:38 PM

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Skip the bread and order an appetizer. Apps are usually the perfect portion size for not overeating but you still get the restaurant taste.

Sunday, February 12, 2006, 5:33 PM

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Great! Thank you all so much! I will get the dressing on the side tomorrow with my salad. I really appreciate all the great tips!

Sunday, February 12, 2006, 9:29 PM

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Also, it helps to order grilled and not fried foods. And ask if they have fat free versions of the salad dressing available. I have found that a lot of restaurants are carrying "diet" alternatives and all you have to do is ask.

Monday, February 13, 2006, 10:11 AM

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