Dining out doesn’t have to be a disaster!  Here are 9 ways to enjoy your meal without overindulging.

Plan ahead. Choose a restaurant where you know there will be healthy options. If unfamiliar with the restaurant, check the menu and choose a meal ahead of time.

Portion control. Order a high protein appetizer such as shrimp cocktail as your meal or choose a healthy option off the child’s menu. Some restaurants now have “tapas” (meaning “little bites” in Spanish) which are generally 1/4th to 1/3rd of a regular meal.  Also, take advantage of our MyNewSelf dining card which is provided to each bariatric surgery patient. This card informs the restaurant staff that you have had a weight loss surgical procedure that limits the amount of food you can eat. Most restaurants will honor this card allowing you to order a smaller portion and receive a discount on your meal.

Special diet requests. To improve the nutrition of your meal and save calories, don’t hesitate to ask for sauce/dressings on the side, green salad in place of fries, or to leave the cheese and bacon off entrees.

Know menu terms. Battered, crispy, creamed, pan-fried or buttered suggest high-calorie foods while baked, braised, broiled, poached, roasted or steamed refer to lower-calorie options.

Pre-dinner carbs. Avoid pre-dinner bread, rolls, or tortilla chips by asking that they be removed from the table.

Added fats. Ask that your meal and veggies be prepared without added butter or oils.

Salads. Boost the protein in your salad by adding lean chicken, tuna, seafood, beans, cottage cheese, or sunflower seeds. Limit dressing to 1 Tbsp low-fat. (Avoid fat-free as they usually have added sugars).

Wrap your sandwich. Wrap your sandwich in a lettuce leaf! This will save you approximately 140 calories.

Low-calorie toppings. Greek yogurt, horseradish, or salsas are acceptable choices you can enjoy on a baked potato. It’s okay to have a ¼ baked potato when dining out as long as you eat your protein first!