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Farah Chabib, Clinical Dietician, MEDI Weight Loss shares tips on how to make healthy choices when you are dining out

Making healthy choices when you dine out!

Follow these simple rules and you can be confident of choosing a healthy meal, each time you step out to eat!

Rule 1 – Choose the right salad

As the salad dressing could be very high in fat, ask for the salad dressing on the side and add a small amount as you go. Alternatively, you can request for balsamic vinegar or simply lemon juice, since you can add as much of them as you want, without worrying about adding extra calories.

Rule 2 – Ask for the sauce on the side please!

When you order grilled meat, chicken or fish, remember to ask for sauce on the side. Sauces are either cream-based or heavy gravies. Avoid them or just add a small amount to flavor your food.

Rule 3 – Who said Italian can’t be healthy?

Let’s admit it, we all love Italian food. Real thin crust Italian pizza with fresh tomato sauce topped with mozzarella cheese and a plate of al-dente penne arrabiata are not unhealthy choices; however, the portions served in restaurants are too big and can lead to an excessive calorie intake. If you go for Italian, share your pasta plate or your pizza and have a light salad with balsamic dressing as a starter. It is low in calories, rich in nutrients and will make you eat less from your main course.

Rule 4 – Want a sandwich!

Sandwiches are ideal for lunch since they are practical, fast and light! Keep your sandwich light by making sure it doesn’t contain both mayonnaise and cheese. Give up one of the former since both of them pile up the calories in your sandwich.

 Rule 5 – Avoid appetizers!

Whether you’re eating Arabic food or any other cuisine, the appetizers (such as hummus, moutabbal, cheese bourak, mozzarella sticks, nachos and French fries) can stack up more calories than your main course itself. Always choose healthy salads for appetizers, preferably those minus mayonnaise.