Restaurant Right

Whether it's to celebrate a special occasion, to grab a bite on the go, or simply because you haven't had time to grocery shop, dining out is always a treat. But when the chefs are behind closed kitchen doors, it's difficult to know which recipes are lurking with hidden fat, salt and sugar. Since menu items don't often tell you how your order is prepared or the proper portion size, our fitness and nutrition expert Andrea Orbeck is here to make sure that dining out doesn't become a health hazard.


How to Avoid Restaurant Pitfalls

1. Ask for your entrée to be prepared grilled, steamed, baked or broiled -- not fried, which means it's being cooked in oil or butter.

2. Know your portion sizes. For lean meat this is the approximate size of a deck of cards or bar of soap. For fish, it's the size of a checkbook.

3. Always ask for sauces and dressings to be served on the side. This way you can control exactly how much gets mixed into the dish.

Packaged Brown Rice Sushi4. Request brown rice or "light rice" when ordering sushi.

5. If an entrée comes with potatoes or bread, ask for steamed veggies instead.

6. Decline the bread basket and skip the appetizer, unless the appetizer is a salad with light vinaigrette dressing.

7. If you order a heavy pasta dish, ask for half of it to be wrapped up for you before it's served, then eat it for lunch the next day.

Lemon water8. Drink lemon water with your meal. Skip the calories that are squeezed into juices and soda.

9. Watch your alcohol intake. It's nearly twice as fattening as carbohydrates or protein at seven calories per gram, no matter whether its beer, wine or hard liquor.

10. Pay attention to wording. Dishes labeled with words like deep-fried, pan-fried, basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, alfredo or au gratin are calorie bombs, often containing unhealthy fats and lots of sodium.