Ask an RD

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Q: I am obligated to take clients out for lunch at least three times a week for my new job but have trouble eating healthy when I am out at restaurants. I am already starting to gain weight. Do you have any advice for me?


A: Dining out can prove challenging to those of us trying to eat a healthy diet but don’t be discouraged!  Going out to eat can still fit into a healthy lifestyle and be an enjoyable experience. The first thing I would suggest is to plan ahead. Since you have control over where you take your clients, do some research and find local restaurants that offer healthy menu options. Before going to the restaurant have an idea of what you want to order so that when you sit down at the table you won’t have to frantically scan the menu.  Avoid dishes that are fried or smothered in heavy sauces.  Some words like “breaded”, “beer battered”, or “creamy” serve as helpful red flags.  Choose entrees that are centered around or include vegetables like salads or grilled chicken and  fish with steamed spinach. Steer clear of red meat like steak and hamburgers. Not only are these choices high in calories but the saturated fat that they contain is harder for your body to digest and will likely have you feeling sluggish when you get back to the office.  The best way to avoid overeating is to never show up for a business lunch too hungry. Drink a full glass of water and eat a piece of whole fruit like an apple or orange about half an hour before showing up at the restaurant. You will still have an appetite but will be able to make better decisions and pass on the bread basket!

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