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Eating out can be a great treat and has become increasingly convenient when you’re on the go. The percentage of people who eat away from home has continued to grow over the past 15 years, according the National Restaurant Association.

But eating out can pose a problem when menu choices are limited. Fortunately, an increasing number of restaurants cater to the educated consumer and offer healthier alternatives to high fat foods.

Here are some tips to remember when ordering in a restaurant, or dining at the home of a relative or friend.  

  • Be assertive. Avoid peer pressure – make your own choice.  
  • Plan your meals outside your home.  
  • Be selective about the restaurant you chose. Make sure the place offers alternative low fat choices.  
  • Remember, if a restaurant has a name such as “Lite Café,” that does not necessarily mean the food it serves is low in fat, calories or sugar.   
  • Question the waiter regarding ingredients and methods of preparation.   
  • Pickup the menus of restaurants you have visited that have healthful choices. Make your selections prior to revisiting the restaurant.   
  • For salads, have the waiter bring the dressing “on the side.” Request low-fat dressing.   
  • For items which are pan-fried, or sautéed, ask that the dish be cooked with reduced oil, or no oil.   
  • If the waiter brings you an entrée that is swimming in butter or oil, it’s okay to send it back to the kitchen.   
  • Is someone invites you to their home for lunch or dinner, say you’re watching your diet and politely ask them to make a low-fat dish.  

From ForkWise: Diet and the Prevention of Cancer ©1998 Moffitt Cancer Center