7. Skip the buffets. Those by-the-pound Chinese, noodle, and chicken wing buffets at large grocery stores can be a health nightmare. First, the containers are large, so you tend to buy too much. Second, many of the foods are fried, and many more are packed with oil, salt, and sugar to boost the flavor.
8. Order by the serving size, not the pound. When ordering prepared foods from behind the counter, ask the server to give you enough for as many people as will be eating, for example, “I need enough to serve three people, and I’m serving a salad and brown rice along with it.” If the server is no help, then go by the palm of your hand. You want a serving size of meat or protein about the size of your hand. The rest of the meal you can round out with vegetables and whole grains.
9. Order grocery-store hoagies and subs with turkey or chicken, lots of vegetable fillings like tomato, lettuce, peppers, and cucumber, with the spread on the side. Ask for whole grain bread.
10. Go for sushi. Low in fat, high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, sushi is one of your best bets when running into your local grocer for dinner. Can’t stand the thought of raw fish? Most groceries stock a selection of cooked fish sushi or even veggie-only sushi.
11. Order twice as much of the prepared vegetables as you do of the main entrée.
12. If you can see mayonnaise pooling around the chicken, tuna, seafood, or pasta salads, skip them. Mayonnaise is a combination of eggs and oil — primarily fat.
13. Start a conversation with your server. Among the talking points: How was that fish prepared? How much salt does the chef use? Can I see the recipe for the meat loaf?
14. Pick up a rotisserie chicken… Add a salad-in-a-bag, a box of instant brown rice, and some sliced tomatoes and you’ve got a healthy, easy, barely-have-to-cook meal.
15. …But remove the skin. Much of the internal fat from a rotisserie chicken drips out in the cooking, but the skin still holds lots of the stuff.
16. Choose prepared soups made with veggies in place of meat, like black bean soup, lentil soup, or minestrone. Little fat is added to these soups. However, avoid creamy or cheesy soups like broccoli-and-cheese or cream of asparagus. If you’re not sure, ask about the composition of the soup stock. The best is vegetable broth, followed by chicken broth, then beef, and finally cream.