Moving toward a healthier diet but worried that eating out could sideline your progress? Don’t ditch the thought of heading to your favorite eatery. Instead, use these tips for healthy eating out to make sure you enjoy every moment — and dish! — without an ounce of guilt.

Scan the Menu for Buzzwords

Crispy. Deep-fried. Smothered. Consider these terms buzzwords, and stay away from foods prepared using these cooking methods because they tend to be higher in fat and calories. Better choices are items that have been grilled or steamed.

Choose Leaner Protein Sources

Lean protein is a healthy person’s best friend. Seafood and chicken prepared with a minimal amount of butter or oil and then seasoned to perfection are ideal. Protein fills you up without making you feel bloated. Plus, it’s something your body needs, especially if you’re trying to increase your exercise.Halibut as an entree at USS Nemo Restaurant

Opt for Veggie Side Dishes

Are French fries a vegetable? Not if you’re focused on how to eat healthy at a restaurant! Steamed vegetables or vegetables that have been lightly sautéed will provide you with tons of nutrients. Not in the mood for the veggies on the menu? Get a healthy green salad with dressing on the side. Then, dip the tines of your fork in the dressing before each bite rather than covering the salad with the dressing.

Ask for Substitutions

Never be afraid to ask a server to make substitutions for you. Servers are accustomed to accommodating guests. For instance, if you like the sound of the special but prefer it prepared differently than advertised, make a request. Restaurants will typically do whatever necessary to change preparation methods based on your dietary desires.

Get a Takeout Box at the Beginning

Most restaurant portions are generous, which means you could easily get a meal that’s closer to two meals. Get a takeout box when your food is served and place half of it in the box. This guarantees you won’t overeat at the table, and that you’ll have something to eat the next day. Not interested in having a takeout box? Consider sharing an entrée with someone else at the table. Just be aware that restaurants may charge you more for making this switch.

Grab an Appetizer Instead of an Entrée

Appetizers are typically smaller than entrées. If you’re concerned you won’t be able to hold back from eating every delicious morsel laid out before you, an appetizer might make a wiser main course. Again, look for appetizers that are packed with nutritional value, rather than deep-fried or buried in creamy sauces.

Take Your Time

Chewing slowly is one of the biggest tricks for eating healthy while eating out. Don’t rush through your meal as if it’s a race. Take the time to thoughtfully eat each bite. Savor the flavors and take smaller bites than you normally might. Join the conversation, too. When you’re talking, you can’t be simultaneously eating.

Drink Lots of Water

Water is your friend at the restaurant table. Not only does it have zero calories, but it is fantastic for your system. Drink up, and keep yourself hydrated without resorting to high-calorie alcoholic beverages or sugary soda.

A healthier lifestyle doesn’t necessitate eating every meal at home. You have more control than you think about what goes into your order at a restaurant and what you choose as delectable fuel to keep your energy high, your smile bright and your stomach satisfied.