…Mary Pearsall

It seems that many more people are eating out more frequently. You could be setting yourself up for weight gain if you are a frequent diner – but it need not happen. With a little effort you can have as much control over what you eat when you dine out as when you eat at home. The following tips give you the tools you need to win at the restaurant game

1. Get a Little Something on the Side.
Salad dressing is not the only topping that can be served on the side. You can maek the same request with sour cream, sauces, cheese, any toppings and most seasonings.

2. Ask Until You\’re Satisfied.
Perhaps the most effective method of getting what you want is to ask questions. Whether your question is about ingredients, preparation methods, price, portion size or substitutions, don\’t settle for a half baked answer. If your server seems unsure of the answer to your questions, have hin or her ask a manager.

3. Know When To Go.
If you are planning on special instructions, you may want to eat at nonpeak hours. If you go at peak times, your special order may take a little longer – or if you send it back – a lot longer.

4. Try to Be a Kid Again.
Many restaurants have special children\’s section on the menu that you may be able to order from. If not, ask the waiter – or the manager, if necessary – if you may have half an order of something. Or, ask for a box and divide a full portion in half yourself before you dig in. You will have leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day as well!

5. Stop Eating When You Are Satisfied.
I know, mom always said to clean your plate. But stuffing yourself just because it is “there” sets you up for weight gain – not to mention discomfort!

6. Be a Regular.
If you go to the same place often and get to know the staff by name, your requests and questions are more likely to be taken seriously. Who knows, you may even have a dish named after you!

7. Tip Generously.
Like it or not, the restaurant business is a service industry where you are the boss. If you take care of your waiter or waitress, he or she will take care of you.