7 Restaurant Rules To Live By

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A smiling couple eating a meal at a restaurant and looking out beyond the tableThe days of dining in restaurants only for special occasions are over. Today, for many people, eating out is an almost daily occurrence.

Here’s the problem: Restaurant menu items are usually low in fiber but high in calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium—not exactly the nutritional profile you want if you are trying to eat a healthy diet to prevent disease.

Remember, everything else might be out of your control, but you are the only one who decides what you order and put in your mouth – and sometimes a little rule making helps. So here are seven rules to dine by:

1. Go fish when in restaurants.

To take advantage of the health benefits of fish, many health organizations recommend eating fish a couple of times a week. Making a point to enjoy fish when in restaurants is a great way to get your weekly dose of fish and their awesome omega-3 fatty acids. Just make sure to order the non-battered and fried and the non-buttered fish dishes like grilled salmon or halibut, steamed crab, or scallops lightly sautéed in olive oil or wine.

2. Split it.

Dying to try the fried calamari, creamy spinach and artichoke dip, or even the insane cheesecake? Do not order the less-healthy stuff as your meal. Split it between the whole table or let someone else order it and have a few bites.

3. Pump up the plant foods.

Look for opportunities to order menu items that include high-nutrient, high-fiber plant foods like whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. You can often choose beans as a side dish or as part of your entrée at Mexican restaurants and you can order fresh fruit on the side at most restaurants.

4. Make requests.

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