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13. Read between the lines. Any menu description that uses the words creamy, breaded, crisp, sauced, or stuffed is likely loaded with hidden fats — much of it saturated or even trans fats. Other “beware of” words include: buttery, sautéed, pan-fried, au gratin, Thermidor, Newburg, Parmesan, cheese sauce, scalloped, and au lait, à la mode, or au fromage (with milk, ice cream, or cheese).
14. Ask the waiter to skip the bread basket. If you must have something to munch on while you wait for your order, ask for a plate of raw vegetables or some breadsticks.
15. Skip the fancy drinks. If you must order an alcoholic drink, forget the margaritas, piña coladas, and other exotic mixed drinks. They include sugary additions that only add calories. Opt instead for a glass of wine, a light beer, a vodka and tonic or a simple martini (without the chocolate liquor, sour green apple schnapps, or triple sec).
16. Top a baked potato with veggies from the salad bar. Or ask if they have salsa — the ultimate potato topper, both in terms of flavor and health. Just avoid the butter and sour cream.
17. Order fish. Just make sure it’s not fried. When the CSPI evaluated food served at seafood chains and independent restaurants, researchers found low-fat and low-sodium options abounded. Plus, you can order seafood so many different ways — steamed, baked, broiled, sautéed, blackened, or grilled. Nix any sauces, or ask for them on the side.
18. Drink water throughout the meal. It will slow you down, help you enjoy the food more, and let the message get to your brain that you’re full — before your plate is empty.
19. Always dress up to go out. Even if it’s just a regular family restaurant. If you view eating out as an event or a treat, rather than a way to get an everyday dinner, you won’t eat out as often. And that’s good from both a health and a cost standpoint.
20. Skip the dessert. You can always have some sorbet or even a small piece of chocolate at home. That is much better healthwise than the Triple Chocolate Meltdown or a mountain of ice cream topped by a second mountain of whipped cream.
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