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Tips for Eating Healthy When Dining Out | Health

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Tips for Eating Healthy When Dining Out
Health, Restaurants
Tips for Eating Healthy When Dining Out


Tips for Eating Healthy When Dining Out


March is National Nutrition Month across the country. It’s also an ideal time to look at what we can do to make eating out healthier, especially when you consider that as many as half of the meals that people eat today come from restaurants. In fact, the National Restaurant Association reports that it’s forecasting roughly $631 billion in restaurant sales for 2012. In a typical day across the country, restaurants sell around $1.7 billion worth of food.

Clearly, we are nation that enjoys dining out. But one look at the obesity rates and other health issues makes it apparent that we also need to strive for making healthier meal choices, even when we are at restaurants.

“Some people think that dining out means eating unhealthily,” explains Chef Paul Anthony Fario, known as “Chefario,” the executive chef at Arlington-based Extra Virgin restaurant. “That is simply not true. We, like most restaurants, offer a variety of healthy options, and we are always happy to accommodate requests for making things healthier.”

Whether you are on a diet trying to lose weight, looking for ways to make your diet healthier, or simply want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, there are things you can do when dining out. Here are some tips for eating healthy when dining out:

  • Ask to have the food grilled, rather than fried. And while you are at it, ask that they skip the butter.
  • When it comes to drinks and cocktails, stick to those that have less sugar and calories. This will keep you from adding unnecessary calories and sugar.
  • Request that high-fat extras like salad dressings be served on the side. That way, you have control over how much goes on. Or, if you can, skip these high-fat items altogether.
  • Opt for small portions in order to save on calories, fat, sodium, etc. If the restaurant offers a smaller portion, ask for it, or see if it is possible to get the lunch portion even though it’s dinner time.
  • If you are going to have soup, skip the ones that are cream-based. Look for broth-based or tomato-based options, which will save a lot of fat and calories.
  • Look for dishes that contain fruits and vegetables, which will give you fiber, as well as important nutrients.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask if the chef can make something special, or a different way, so that it is healthier. Many chefs will even allow ordering something that is not on the menu, as long as they have the ingredients on hand.
  • If you can’t pass up dessert, share it with those at the table. One dessert with several forks will provide dessert satisfaction without all the fat, calories and guilt of eating the whole thing alone.

“For those who want to dine out healthily, they can absolutely do it,” adds Chef Fario. “There is just no reason to give up dining out to be healthy. You can dine out and eat in a healthy way.”

At Extra Virgin, a restaurant with an olive oil inspired menu and décor, diners can choose from a variety of modern Italian cuisine options, including such specialties as wood-fired pizzas, pastas, meat, poultry, and seafood, as well as vegetarian options. The restaurant offers lunch specials, as well as new weekly menu specialties.

About Extra Virgin

Located in Shirlington Village’s “Restaurant Row,” Extra Virgin offers diners a variety of modern Italian cuisine. The restaurant offers both lunch and dinner, as well as full catering services. The owner, Shary Thur, is a four-time breast cancer survivor, while Paul Anthony Fario, the executive chef, has over 20 years of culinary experience. The restaurant hosts weekly jazz and other music events, as well as weekly specials, in addition to late night dancing. To learn more about Extra Virgin, visit the website at: www.extravirginva.com

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National Restaurant Industry. 2012 Pocket Factbook. <http://www.restaurant.org/pdfs/research/PocketFactbook_2012.pdf>



Health, Restaurants