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10 ways to order a healthy restaurant meal

Salads aren’t the only healthy items on a menu — in fact some salads can be quite decadent. You can lower your restaurant calorie count by drinking water instead of soda or alcohol, and asking the chef to prepare your food without butter or extra salt.

Dining out and eating healthy doesn't need to be an oxymoron. Navigating through menu choices of huge proportions cooked in flavor enhancements guaranteed to stick it to the midsection can cause the health-conscious to throw in the dinner napkin. Never fear! The editors at 101 Dining Guide have done the research and come up with 10 ways to avoid packing on the pounds while promoting good health with smarter menu choices:

1. Ask the server in advance about alternative food choices such as a whole-wheat bread option for sandwiches.

2. Begin the meal with a vegetable-laden salad.

3. Ask for the salad dressing on the side to control the amount placed on the salad.

4. When choosing a drink, consider water, un-sweet tea or low-fat milk or other drinks with no sugar added.

5. Avoid the temptation to “super-size” an order. Instead, choose the small or medium portion options.

6. If craving an appetizer, select an item with a portion size more like a side dish than a main dish. Sometimes, the appetizer can become the main dish. Add a salad to an appetizer, and you have a full meal deal.

7. The best choices for fewer calories include grilled, steamed and broiled entrees. A plate should be about half vegetables and the other half divided between a protein and a grain.

8. Avoid piling on creamy sauces, gravies or butter.

9. Consider ordering fruit for dessert.

10. Push away from the table when full instead of trying to clean your plate. Ask the server to prepare the leftovers to go.

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