Never arrive ravenously hungry. Grab a snack – perhaps a piece of fruit, a few nuts or a glass of skim milk – before you leave home or work. By taking the edge off your hunger, you'll have more control when ordering or when digging into the basket of bread or tortilla chips. Select a restaurant carefully whenever possible. Review the menu on the outside window or call ahead to ask about healthy menu choices and if special requests are honored. If you must wait in the bar for your table, order a nonalcoholic beverage such as mineral water, club soda with lime or even a fruit juice "spritzer."
Order soup and an appetizer instead of an entrée. Or split an entrée with a dining companion and order a salad. You'll save money as well as calories, and avoid the temptation to overeat.
Many restaurants are flexible with preparation methods. Ask if the "salmon fillet grilled with ginger cream" can be poached instead and served with the tomato-citrus purée mentioned with another entrée or the "ginger cream" could be served on the side so you decide how much to use!
Eat slowly. Experience the taste and texture of the food, the atmosphere, the conversation...
At buffets, cafeterias and food courts, all the choices may seem overwhelming. Take some time to examine your options before ordering.
Food portions are much too big in many restaurants, so listen to your body. Are you still hungry? Take half your meal home. Or even better, request a doggie bag when your entrée arrives so you can preplan the amount you will eat.
If you just can't miss your favorite chocolate-raspberry torte, limit your portion by sharing with a friend or two.
Say good-bye to guilt... Remember that "splurging" once in a while on a higher-calorie item is not a problem for most people. Just get back to your usual balanced eating habits and be sure to keep up with your regular exercise.