Just because you are trying to eat healthy doesn’t mean that you can’t go to your favorite restaurant anymore for a well-deserved break with your family or friends. Since it’s nearly impossible to know the amount of calories, fats and salt in your food, follow the tips below to ensure that you don’t ruin your diet.

Always Go for Good Fats

Don’t let the word “fats” scare you away. They all aren’t unhealthy. Avocadoes, olive oil, nut butters and nuts contain monounsaturated fats that can help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels.

If you are going to order a salad, ditch the thousand island and go for a simple dressing like a combination of olive oil, lemon juice and honey. Polyunsaturated fats found in salmon, trout and mackerel are healthy for you as well. Instead of having a bacon cheeseburger, order grilled salmon with simple salad.

Many restaurants are in tune with the ever changing dietary needs of their customers. They put the heart icon beside the name of the dish so you’ll know which ones are heart-friendly (low in cholesterol, sodium and saturated fats)

Choose Your Side Dishes Wisely

Most restaurants allow you to choose your own side dishes. While a baked potato topped with bacon bits, butter and cheese sounds like the perfect side dish with barbecued ribs, it’s not the healthiest choice for a side dish. Always opt for healthier side dishes and by healthier we mean vegetables that are not drenched in butter.

There are so many vegetable side dishes that taste delicious such as grilled green beans, garlic dill baby potatoes, orange-glazed carrots, spinach salad with walnuts and roasted beet salad. Ask the waiter to double or triple the normal vegetable servings and just pay the extra.

Stay Away from Anything Fried and Smothered with Cheese

Eating out is synonymous to consuming too much calories, sodium, saturated fats and cholesterol. It’s tempting to order a big plate of fried chicken and chili cheese fries when eating out. Stop and ask yourself if you really want to eat a plate of food that can clog your arteries.

Meat and dairy are the most notorious for having high amounts of saturated fats and so as palm oil, coconut oil and butter. Forget about fish & chips and fried mozzarella sticks; go for grilled chicken tenders or roast beef sandwich in wheat bread instead.

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