Eating out is such a favorite American pastime. I remember when eating out was more of a “treat”,  but today people tend to eat out several times a week and some even do so as much as once a day.

If you are someone who eats out frequently, you need to be particularly careful about your food choices.

Sometimes it is easy when the fat and calorie information is found on the menu however usually that is not the case, so you are forced to use good judgment, the knowledge that you have in such matters and some “healthy tips for eating out”!

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Try these 10 ordering tips to stay on track with your healthy eating goals:

1. Not all fats are “bad fats”! Look for healthy monounsaturated fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. Also fatty fish like salmon and tuna are high in heart healthy Omega 3 fatty acids.

2. Avoid fried foods: they are loaded with calories and usually unhealthy fats. Also meals laden with cheese add serious extra calories. Choose foods that are grilled, baked, or broiled and limit cheese and heavy cream based sauces and dressings.

Use vinaigrette, salsa and low sodium soy sauce instead. Ordering sauces and dressings on the side is a smart idea to control portions.

3. When eating out for lunch, try salads with reasonable portions of protein like sliced grilled chicken or fish.

If you would rather have a sandwich, choose whole grain bread or tortillas versus white flour. Limit condiments like mayonnaise and opt for mustard or fresh avocado. Load up on fresh veggies and limit high fat cheese.

4. Soups can be a great lunch or also a light dinner choice. Choose soups that are water based rather than cream and stocked with legumes, vegetables and low fat protein.

healthy tips for eating out_25. A big problem when eating out is the portion size. Try ordering off the appetizer menu, splitting meals with your dining partner, or saving some for another meal or snack.

6. Desserts can pack on the calories so best to split with someone or save some for later.

7. Beverages can often become calories you don’t even notice.

Make sure you pair your meals with unsweetened ice tea, sparkling water or club soda with lime, or just plain water. Limit sweetened beverages and even diet sodas with artificial sweeteners. Alcohol can pack on the calories so limit those as well.

8. Limit bread or chips that are brought to the table when you are seated. These can be impulse foods especially if you are really hungry. Make sure you factor these calories in your overall meal.

9. Breakfast foods offer many hidden fats and calories like pancakes, waffles, bacon, sausage and hash browns.

Choose veggie omelettes light on the cheese, fruit and yogurt and whole grain bread. Choose whole fruit instead of juice for more nutrition less and calories.

10. Don’t go to a restaurant overly hungry which sets you up for over ordering and over-eating.

For more advice on healthy eating tips, connect with Expert Angela Moore

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