Top 10 dining-out tips for weight loss

Smart choices let you enjoy eating out while sticking to your healthy diet

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dining out

Eat healthy anywhere

Regardless of the type of restaurant you are dining in, the following ten weight loss tips will go a long way to ensure that you eat well while watching your waistline.

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1. Grab some bran

If possible, just before you go out, have a small bowl of high-fibre cold cereal (such as All-Bran) with skim milk and sweetener. I often add a couple of spoonfuls of fat-free fruit yogurt. This will take the edge off your appetite and get some fibre into your digestive system, which will help reduce the G.I. of your upcoming meal.

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drink water large

2. Order water

Once seated in the restaurant, drink a glass of water. It will help you feel fuller.

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3. Slow down and savour

Remember to eat slowly to allow your brain the time it needs to realize you are full. Put your fork down between mouthfuls and savour your meal.

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bread basket

4. Banish the bread

Once the basket of rolls or bread-which you will ignore-has been passed around the table, ask the server to remove it. The longer it sits, the more tempted you will be to dig in.

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bowl of soup

5. Start with soup or salad

Order a soup or salad first and tell the server you would like this as soon as possible. This will keep you from sitting hungry while others are filling up on bread. For soups, go for vegetable or bean-based, the chunkier the better. Avoid any that are cream-based, such as vichyssoise. For salads, the golden rule is to keep the dressing on the side so you can use a fraction of what the restaurant would normally pour over your greens. Avoid Caesar salads, which come pre-dressed and often pack as many calories as a burger.

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steamed carrots

6. Ask for extra veggies

Since you probably won’t get boiled small or new potatoes and can’t always be sure of what kind of rice is being served, ask for a double serving of vegetables instead. I have yet to find a restaurant that won’t oblige.

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7. Go for lean protien

Stick with low-fat cuts of meat or poultry. If necessary, you can remove the skin. Duck is usually too high in fat. Fish and shellfish are excellent choices but shouldn’t be breaded or battered. Tempura is more fat and flour than filling. Remember that servings tend to be generous in restaurants, so eat only 113 to 170 g (4 to 6 oz., the size of a pack of cards) and leave the rest. Entrée sharing is also becoming a popular option.

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sauce on the side

8. Sauce on the side

As with salads, ask for any sauces or gravies to be served on the side.

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eating fruit

9. Finish with fruit

For dessert, fresh fruit and berries-without the ice cream-are your best choice. If you are hankering for something sweet, sprinkle on some sweetener from one of the packages designed for coffee/tea. Most other desserts are a dietary disaster. My advice is to avoid dessert. If a birthday cake is being passed around, share your piece with someone. A couple of forkfuls with your decaf coffee should get you off the hook with minimal dietary damage!

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drinking coffee

10. Do decaf

Order only decaffeinated coffee. Skim-milk decaf cappuccino is our family’s favourite choice.

Excerpted from The G.I. Diet, Revised Copyright © 2009 by Rick Gallop. Excerpted by permission of Random House Canada, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved.

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