LSU AgCenter Nutritionist Explains How To Be Restaurant Savvy When Dieting

Elizabeth S. Reames  |  4/23/2005 2:44:43 AM

News You Can Use For March 2005

Eating out is a pleasure you can enjoy even if you’re trying to trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain. That’s an assertion by LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.

"You can eat healthy and watch your weight when dining out, if you know how," the nutritionist says, advising, "Ask questions!"

To make your dining-out experience both tasty and good for you, ask if the restaurant will accommodate special requests, leave all butter, gravy or sauces off a dish, serve fat-free (skim) milk rather than whole milk or cream, trim visible fat from poultry or meat, serve salad dressing on the side or use less cooking oil when cooking.

Reames recommends selecting foods that are steamed, broiled, baked, roasted, poached or lightly sautéed or stir-fried. These cooking techniques use less fat in the food preparation and are generally lower in calories. Similarly, look for restaurants that provide these options.

Ask for dishes to be made without high fat additions, such as cream sauces, gravies and butter. Look for vegetables seasoned with herbs or spices rather than butter, sour cream or cheese.

Ask your server to substitute steamed vegetables or a baked potato for items such as french fries or pasta or rice and potatoes prepared with rich sauces. Likewise, enjoy foods that are flavored with fresh herbs rather than fats such as oil and butter.

Top your potato with plain yogurt and chives or salsa instead of sour cream, butter, cheese or bacon. Choose pasta with marinara sauce rather than Alfredo, order two appetizers or an appetizer and a salad as your meal. Make a meal of soup and salad. Choose foods made with whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread and dishes made with brown rice. Choose entrees with fruits and vegetables as key ingredients. Choose lean deli meats like fresh turkey or lean roast beef instead of higher fat cuts like salami or bologna.

At fastfood restaurants, Reames advises choosing chicken, lean roast beef sandwiches or lean plain hamburgers, salads with low-fat salad dressing, low-fat milk and low-fat frozen yogurt. Order a pizza topped with vegetables. Go for low-fat sandwich toppings like lettuce, tomato and onion and condiments like ketchup, mustard or relish. Order a low-fat dessert like fresh berries, sorbet or low-fat frozen yogurt.

Share a dessert with a friend or several friends. Instead of dessert, enjoy a flavored coffee. Control serving sizes by asking for a small serving, sharing a dish or taking some home. Take half of your meal home and eat later as a second meal. Stop eating when you are full — listen to the cues your body gives you.

"Remember not to deprive yourself of the foods you love. All foods can fit into a well-balanced diet," the nutritionist says.

For information on related nutrition, family and consumer topics, visit the FCS Web site at


On the Internet: LSU AgCenter:
Source: Beth Reames (225) 578-3929, or

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