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5 Steps to Guilt-Free Dining Out
Perhaps dining out is something you and your family really enjoy doing. After all, it�s a great way to spend quality time together and engage in conversation, and you don�t have to be the one to cook the meal or clean up the mess. But can you really enjoy dining out together and still maintain a healthy lifestyle? The answer may surprise you.
When done in moderation, dining out can still fit in with a healthy family lifestyle. So long as you make wise food choices and keep nutritional value in mind, you can enjoy your dining experiences without the guilt. The following are five steps to guilt-free dining:
Step 1.) Skip the appetizers.
Most restaurant appetizers are high in fat and calories. Rich chip dips, mozzarella sticks, potato skins, and Buffalo wings are tempting, but they should be avoided if you wish to feel good about your food selections afterwards. Keep in mind that at many restaurants, the main course will automatically come with bread, salad, soup, or in the case of a Mexican restaurant, chips and salsa. If you simply must order an appetizer, limit it to one to share with everyone at the table.
Step 2.) Choose your entree carefully.
When it comes to your main dish, pay attention to the listed ingredients. Avoid items with cream sauces or high-fat meats. Pass on fried side items like French fries and onion rings as frying adds additional fat. Consider steamed vegetables or rice as a side dish, or ask for the side items to be left off completely.
Step 3.) Control your portions.
I cannot stress this enough. Whether dining out or eating at home, portion control is perhaps the most important factor to consider when trying to maintain healthy eating habits. When you can, order from the lunch menu since the portions are generally smaller. Also consider asking for a to-go box when placing your order so you can split your meal immediately and avoid the temptation of over indulging. This also gives you a second meal later. Another option would be to split an entr�e with your spouse or child.
Step 4.) Avoid alcoholic beverages.
A mixed beverage or beer with your meal may be tempting, but try to limit alcoholic beverages to special occasions. Alcohol is very high in empty calories.
Step 5.) Say no to desserts.
Desserts may be hard to resist, but you�ll thank yourself for doing so. Not only are they very high in calories; they�re generally just as high in fat. If you�re really craving a dessert, make it a point to split one dessert with someone else. That way you�ll only take in half the fat and calories. Of course, on special occasions, it�s alright to cheat a little. Just don�t make it a habit.
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