Last updated: Apr 08, 2009
The secret: Ask for things your way, diet expert Alyse Levine, RD, says.


Do a late lunch
Ask if you can get a smaller (and cheaper!) lunch-size portion at dinnertime. Or, choose an appetizer as your meal; the portions are more likely single-serving-sized.

Get it to go
If you order a full entree, ask for a to-go box along with your meal, then package up at least half of it before you take the first bite. Or, ask the waiter to have the kitchen box up half of your meal before its even served to you.

Skip the fat
Ask for foods to be grilled, steamed or broiled instead of sauteed or fried. Or, request that your entree be cooked “dry,” which is restaurant-speak for no added oil or butter. Request lemon or lime wedges or some fresh herbs to add your own flavor.

Choose one starch
If you simply must have a warm roll from the bread basket, ask them to hold the rice pilaf that comes with your entree.

Choose veggies wisely
Not all of them are equally healthy. Sauteed spinach, for example, is often sauteed in gobs of butter. If youre unsure about a veggie dish, ask how its prepared. Or skip it and go for steamed or raw instead.

Play favorites
If you really want the burger, go ahead and get it, but without the fries. Have that chocolate chip cookie at the office party, but skip the chips. By sticking to just splurges you love, youll satisfy your urge without overdoing it.

Stick with what you know
No nutrition info on the menu? If it's a national chain, check the restaurant's website beforehand; most make their calorie counts available so you can be prepared going in. Or fall back on one of these restaurant meals you can eat without guilt, vetted and approved (in moderation!) by our Feel Great Weight experts.