Weight-loss Challenge: Choose skinnier options when eating out

Jan. 21, 2012 at 1:00 AM ET

For most people, eating out is a normal part of their weekend routine, and you don’t have to avoid restaurants just because you’re watching your weight.

It’s what you eat, not where you eat, that matters—so long as you make healthy choices, you can continue to enjoy a night out on the town. Try your best to stick with the “no starch at dinner rule,” but if it’s too limiting while dining out, just be sure you pick one of these diet-friendly options. For a standard, healthy meal you can order at just about any restaurant, enjoy grilled, broiled, or roasted lean protein (chicken, fish, shellfish) with a double order of steamed, roasted, or sautéed vegetables.

Or, opt for a giant salad tossed with grilled chicken and light dressing. If you’re going Mexican, try chicken or shrimp fajitas (use just 1-2 tortillas and pick just one high-cal topping—sour cream, guacamole, or cheese). At Italian restaurants, order salmon with grilled/roasted vegetables, mussels in white wine, or, for a pasta fix that won’t blow your diet, spaghetti with low-cal marinara or pomodoro sauce tossed with shrimp or chicken and lots of vegetables.

In the realm of American fare, choose a turkey burger with lettuce, tomato and mustard or BBQ sauce (nix the bun), or have a bowl of any non-creamy soup (minestrone, hearty vegetable, black bean, etc.) with a salad (get the dressing on the side and skip high-cal toppers like cheese and croutons). At the steakhouse, you can’t go wrong with a lean sirloin steak, baked potato (topped with ketchup—or either sour cream or butter, not both), and a side of steamed or grilled veggies.

For slimming recipes, menus and health tips, visit joybauer.com and follow Joy on Facebook and Twitter.

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