Restaurant Menu Unveiled

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I will be the first to tell you that of course it is ideal to eat at home or pack your lunch versus eating out, but the reality is you will be in situations where you will choose to or have to dine out. So here is the real deal on the Restaurant Menu Unveiled.

Plan Ahead

If you are going out with a group or dining alone, I would suggest hopping on the internet before choosing which restaurant you’re going to. Almost every restaurant now has a website featuring their menu online, and more and more of them are beginning to also include the calorie count. Take a look and make sure the restaurant has at least one healthy option that you could enjoy.

Hold the Bread

Like a lot of people, I know stopping at one piece of bread may not be easy for you. If this is the case, ask the waiter or waitress to hold the bread when they come for your drink order. This is a little easier than sending it back after it’s already sitting in front of you. Why is this important? When eating at a restaurant, we plan on ordering a full meal, and adding 100-300 calories at the start will not be beneficial to your waistline.

Soup or Salad

Studies show that those who eat soup or salad before their meal eat 200 less calories total than those who don’t (Soure: Both soup and salad are low in calories but can prevent you from being ravenous when your main dish arrives. Two words of caution on this: avoid cream-based soups and get your dressing on the side. I like to dip my fork in my dressing or ask for lemon wedges instead.

Appetizers Anyone?

Restaurants are brilliant with their tantalizing appetizers they feature on their menu. If the whole table splits an appetizer, that’s not a big deal. But ordering an appetizer for yourself and a meal means big time calories. It’s not worth it. Consider choosing an appetizer as your main meal, or splitting an entrée with someone else and forgoing the appetizer. Either way, you’ll be better off.

Butter Be Gone

Restaurants love putting butter on everything, and I mean everything! If you even suspect there may be butter on it, ask the waiter to hold the butter. Here are some words to pay attention to:

Words to Avoid
Golden Brown
Words to Look For


Stop at 80%

When you almost feel full, this is when you need to stop eating and ask for a to-go box. It takes our brains about 20 minutes to catch up with our stomachs, so never eat until you are completely full. If you do, you will most certainly regret it when you experience food comatose later on!

Drink or Dessert

If you’re going out to dinner, a good rule of thumb to follow is either choose a drink or dessert, but not both. We all know that there are hundreds of calories in cocktails and desserts, so if you’re going to splurge, choose wisely. For a drink, ask for a skinny girl version of your favorite cocktail-most bartenders will be able to do it for you. As for a dessert, see if the table will split it with you and you’ll get your fix without additional calories.

As a general guideline, I like to eat super clean the following day after eating at a restaurant. I find that even with good choices, the reality is you’re still eating at a restaurant and do not know the full extent of how your meal was prepared. When you learn how to unveil a restaurant menu, you can enjoy a great meal and then move on with your health. Have fun!

*The information on this site is designed for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Thank you!

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~by Kimberly Olson

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