The Dining Out Dilemma Guide - Staying Healthy with Restaurant Dining

Dining Out Guide

Not All Foods Are Created Equal

Your non-bodybuilder friends have invited you out to eat, and you've accepted. What do you do now: Eat like a typical diner and scarf down loads of fat, or suffer through the light fare that's light on both taste and nutrition?

Neither! Discover a whole new world of healthy and satisfying restaurant fare. Your best bet is to patronize restaurants with many healthy and hearty selections on the menu. Quality seafood restaurants can be ideal, with many varieties of grilled fish, fresh steamed vegetables and rice pilaf or steamed red potatoes. But watch out for the creamy clam chowder, tartar sauce and that basket of bread or rolls and butter.

Some chefs do wonders with our bodybuilding favorite - chicken breasts. Dijon mustard, or herbs and lemon, can turn bland into savory without adding fat. Again, perfectly steamed vegetables and potato, rice or pasta can complete the meal. Beware such typical high-fat additions as butter, sour cream or cheese sauce on the potato, and butter or fat-laden sauces on the pasta.

Think steakhouses are off-limits? Think again. Forget the giant porterhouse and smothered baked potato, and select a petite filet (check the size on the menu) and control the toppings on your spud. Because many restaurants offer good and good-for-you foods, you shouldn't have to feel deprived because you eat right. You just need to know what to look for and how to order.

For Starters

The most damage often occurs before the actual meal begins: Appetizer trays are loaded with fat. Besides that, they take away your appetite for the good muscle-building foods to come. Avoid them. Even the freebies chips and salsa at Mexican restaurants, a basket of oils and butter at other establishments - can pile up fat and calories that you don't need. If you can't exercise control, have your server remove the temptations.

Salads can also be a downfall. Sure, the greens are good, but check out what you or the salad chef puts on them. Blue cheese and Caesar dressings have lots of fat, but most restaurants offer low-fat or non-fat dressings. Have some brought on the side so you can taste before you commit. If you don't like the light dressing, ask for oil and vinegar cruets (go light on the oil) or a lemon wedge to squeeze over your salad.

Drinks can be diet-killers, too, Ice water (free), iced tea and sugar-free soft drinks are fine, but fancy mixed drinks have lots of empty calories, and the alcohol can dull your reasoning. Consider wine, which lasts a long time when sipped. A glass of wine before and possibly one with dinner can enhance your meal without putting you over your limit of calories or alcohol. Besides, red wine in moderation can have health benefits.

Just Desserts

Now comes the cheesecake. Luckily most restaurants slice it very thin. Should you or shouldn't you? If you behaved yourself at dinner, go ahead. Also consider less-fattening options like flavored coffees without added sugars or fats that make a tasty conclusion to a good dinner. One scoop of sherbet or ice cream, or one cookie, can also be eaten slowly and truly enjoyed to top off a healthy meal.

Some restaurants might offer fresh seasonal fruits or a scrumptious fruit salad. Eat right and eat well. Bon appetite.

Common Sense

Knowing the protein and fat content of restaurant foods can help you choose the right bodybuilding fare, as the examples here illustrate. The high-fat selections represent typical foods ordered by those oblivious to the nutrition data. The leaner and often tastier selections represent foods ordered by nutritionally aware diners. Ignorance may be bliss when you're pigging out at your favorite eatery, but you'll pay later. Instead, enjoy low-fat, high-protein dishes that taste good and are good for your physique.

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