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Eat Out Without Gaining a Pound

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Eat Out Without Gaining a Pound

There are two approaches to any menu. First, you can order a fattening item, like spaghetti carbonara, but plan ahead by eating lightly throughout the day to ensure you have "budgeted" enough calories and grams of fat. Or, if you forget to pre-plan, you can order the pasta and take half of it home in a doggie bag.

The second approach involves selecting a naturally healthy menu item, such as miso-glazed salmon over a bed of spinach. If you can't spot a similar offering on the menu, sweet-talk the staff into making substitutions or tiny changes to a dish, such as requesting that the shish kebob be made with skinless chicken rather than higher-fat lamb. Remember, most chefs will be happy to accommodate special dietary needs. And don't forget: Size does matter. Because American restaurant portions tend to be Godzilla-like and fats lurk in surprising places, another trick is to eat only as much of your entree as would fit comfortably in the palm of your hand.

Also, ask yourself if you really crave dessert. If so, order a low-fat option, such as sorbet, or order something deliciously high-fat, such as crème brûlée, but share it. Finally, exercise regularly, particularly on the day you plan to eat out, as exercise not only burns calories but curbs your appetite.

By heeding these strategies when eating in your favorite restaurants, you can savor Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Italian and American cuisine without saying ciao to lasagna or hasta luego to tostadas.

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