How to Stay on Track at the Diner

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
Eating Out Guide

When healthy eaters are invited out to lunch or dinner, it can seem like a challenging prospect to stay true to a well-planned diet. But, taking regular care to eat healthy doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a social meal out, even at a diner—the infamous American greasy spoon restaurant. Not only can you enjoy the occasional meal at a diner, you can do so without consuming extra fat and calories. The next time you are invited to a meal at the diner, keep these tips handy.

Order Smart

Avoiding diet setbacks at a diner can be simple if you are smart about what you order. Browse the menu for lean chicken or fish dishes, vegetable heavy salads and stir-fries, or broth-based soups. Consider ordering a bun-less lean grilled chicken sandwich, and ask to have it topped with veggies like lettuce, tomato, onion or scallions. If the diner lists its menu online, read it over and decide what to order before you head out.

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Skip the Fryer

It’s hard to imagine a diner without fried food. Skip the grease, fat and calories by asking for dishes to be prepared in healthier ways. When you order, use words like: baked, blackened, broiled, charbroiled, marinated, mesquite-grilled, roasted or spicy.

Ask for Alternatives

Just because a menu item comes with diet saboteurs doesn’t mean you are stuck with them. Ask your server to substitute French fries, chips or coleslaw with a side of steamed vegetables or fresh fruit. You can also request that your server hold the sour cream or mayo from your lunch or dinner item. When ordering salads, be sure to ask for the dressing on the side, so that you are in control of the serving size. You can also opt to eat smaller portions by ordering an appetizer as your meal.

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Avoid Temptation

When scanning the menu, look for diet killers like Alfredo sauce, full-fat dressings, mayonnaise, cream-based soups and other heavy, creamy sauces, and avoid them at all costs. Also steer clear of sandwich splurges like large burgers, cheese steaks, club sandwiches or melts. And, whatever you do, don’t be tempted to order French fries or other deeply fried foods.