Restaurants are setting you up to fail: Low-calorie dishes can have boatloads of sodium. Even savory dishes like ribs can pack almost 100 grams of sugar. And now a recent study shows that a full 92 percent of restaurant entrees across the country have more calories than an average adult should eat in one sitting — a whopping 1,205 calories.
But you can beat the odds, according to Prevention magazine, published by Rodale Inc. of Emmaus. Here’s how savvy nutritionists dine out without overdoing it.
HAVE YOUR CAKE …
1… But only if you really want it. “Don’t eat dessert unless every morsel is delectable,” say Hope Warshaw, author of “Eat Out Eat Well: The Guide to Eating Healthy in Any Restaurant.” If the restaurant is only offering cheesecake and you’re more of an apple crisp person, don’t order the cheesecake. Also, split dessert with a pal. Usually, you only need those few bites to conquer your sweet tooth.
BREAK IT UP EARLY
2… You say you’re only going to eat half of that pasta dish — but it gets a lot harder to stop shoveling it in once the plate is sitting in front of you. “Instead, practice portion control from the point you order, not when it’s in front of you,” Warshaw says. Ask your server to bring half the meal already boxed up in a takeout container when you place your order — not at the end of the meal.
LOAD UP ON VEGGIES
3… You already know veggies are low in calories but high in nutrients. And there’s another reason to load up on vegetables when you’re eating out: taste. “Here is an opportunity to indulge in vegetables prepared by a chef,” says Nyree Dardarian, assistant clinical professor of nutrition at Drexel University. “They will not taste like your at-home, steamable bag of broccoli — trust me. And even if they are cooked with more oil than you’d use at home, the calories will be less than any other alternative side dish on the menu.”