Midday Fix: Rules of the road for dining out

Carolyn O’Neil

www.bestfoodfacts.org

Tips:

Map Out Menu Choices
Check out the menu online to help you plan a safe route. Many even list nutrition information, including calories and total fat. If you want to splurge on a favorite dessert, pick the appetizer more carefully. If you want the chocolate cake, you should skip the deep fried calamari appetizer. You can even ask the server to bring the dessert menu first. You’ve got to have a destination in mind to plan the trip.

Look Both Ways
Check out the room.  Look around and get a visual on portion sizes. Way too large? Split the entrée or plan to box up half for carryout. Spying on other tables will also let you see that the entrée “served with spring greens” is either a sizable serving of salad or a disappointing wisp of green garnish. You want at least one cup of vegetables with your entrée.

Watch Out for Road Hazards
Sure olive oil is heart healthy, but did you know that dunking bread into olive oil so that it soaks it up like a sponge can set you back over 500 calories before you even order your meal.

Signal Your Intentions
Be specific about what you want or don’t want. For example, ‘Can you lightly brush the fish with oil or butter?’ or ‘Can I have extra lemons with my fish?”  “Can you ask the kitchen not to salt my food, I’ll add it myself at the table” or the ever-popular “Can I have the salad dressing on the side?”

Highway Etiquette
Be a courteous diner. Appreciate your server. Tip for good service when they go to the mat for your special requests. Let them know they’ll be rewarded ahead of time by saying, “If you help us eat a little lighter…your tip will be a little fatter!” Smaller hips, bigger tips!!

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