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Appetizers for dinner

People always say to order an appetizer for dinner because the portion is smaller. .. but what restaraunts really have healthy appitizers? I feel like it is always things like fried calamari, motz sticks, quesodillas, chicken fingers, nachos, chicken wings, spinach and artichoke dip and so on. Even though the portion is smaller, wouldnt you be better off just getting a burger?

Mon. Aug 7, 6:55pm

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I agree with you. Really it's about portion control when you are out to eat. For example, if you order a burger only eat 1/2 and maybe take 1/2 the bun off. Get a salad instead of fries (w/ lowfat dressing of course!). It seems like 1/2 the menu is fried food sometimes so I would stay away from those things all together!!!

Monday, August 07, 2006, 7:04 PM

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Shrimp cocktail is a good appetizer option, and some restaurants offer other seafood things like tuna tartare or ceviche.

Monday, August 07, 2006, 7:12 PM

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Maybe you should change where you eat.

Maybe you should change where you eat. I know several places that have sushi -- and then then have veggie spring rolls which are not fried.

If you are going only places with fried stuff -- why bother to diet anyway.

Monday, August 07, 2006, 7:42 PM

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Lettuce wraps

Cheesecake Factory is famous for large portions. When I went there I choose the Asian chicken lettuce wraps, I believe it was on the appetizer menu. It's full of veggies and protein. Many restaurants are now offering Asian lettuce wraps as an appetizer these days. The portion at Cheesecake Factory was certainly meal size. The average calories in this dish is 500-600 calories.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006, 1:17 AM

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7:42 poster - I think the idea here is to be able to find some healthy options regardless of where you go. Any chain restaurant is going to have mostly fried or high fat items as an appetizer. The OP was trying to ask what options he or she could eat when the advice to order an appetizer wouldn't work either. I don't think the suggestion to find another place to eat is really that helpful, especially if you live in an area where sushi is not an option.

OP - I have the same problem when I go to restaurants. I usually end up ordering a baked potato and a side salad rather than an appetizer or entree. This way you can get the smaller portions and eat it all. I am not good at only eating half of the meal after it is served to me! :)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006, 7:27 AM

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I read a really interesting article yesterday on iVillage, called something like "How the RIch get Thin." It mentioned something that I often forget, and everyone here probably forgets as well. When you're at a restaurant, the chef does not know if the dish is going to a woman who's, say, 5'2", 110 lbs, or a man who's 6'5" tall and 260 lbs. So, they have to put out enough food for the larger man. But, at less than half the mass (weight), the woman should only need to eat less than half the amount of the man.

So, a good rule of thumb is to figure out where your ideal is, and compare it to a man who's 260 lbs (healthily), and figure out what portion of your meal you should actually be consuming. Put the rest aside right away.

This is why appetizer portions work. But obviously, it's not talking about family-style fried appetizers. Another option is ordering from the children's menu (if they let you), but again, the idea is still not to eat foods that you wouldn't normally let yourself eat, it's to eat what you'd normally eat, but in smaller portions.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006, 10:27 AM

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Eat at nicer restaurants...

Places like Cheesecake Factory and Chili's and Carrabas (sp?) don't serve healthy foods in general. The good thing is that most of these places do serve "dinner salads" so opt out of the tortilla strips, added bacon, cheese, etc. and get the dressing on the side and you'll be just fine.

If you have more 'fine dining' in your area, why not try that. You're not getting an entree plus wine and dessert, so the price could be about the same as say, an Applebee's.

But you could order a nice mixed green salad and a grilled tuna appetizer, ceviche, or beet salad or a summer soup like gazpacho.

I like this situation because I feel like I can eat out somewhere nice but not go off my diet (these healthy dishes at nicer restaurants are so much better, and often made with local produce) and I'm not spending a fortune because I'm only having an appetizer or two.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006, 11:30 AM

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A lot of good ideas here -- but of course the problem is that one is rarely going out by oneself. If your friends or family are dying to go to Chilis or someplace else with fried food, you are going to be stuck going out to Chilis or Fried Food Emporium.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006, 11:41 AM

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I often have this problem when going out with my boyfriend - it can't alway be about where I can eat. He should have options too. So, when I eat at Chili's (for example) I get salsa to have with chips while he eats queso. I substitute veggies for fries, or ask them only to bring out half of my salad/entree and pack the other half in a to-go container. They are usually very willing to do that for me and the waitstaff understands that there are people out there trying to control their portion sizes. Even if they won't divide the meal for you in the kitchen, ask the waiter/waitress to bring a to-go container with the meal so you can do it yourself.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006, 12:01 PM

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Some restaurants charge for "splitting" a meal.

So, to combat that problem, my hubby and I will often do the following:

One of us orders an entree, the other orders a side salad (or a simple veggie salad that's not loaded with cheese, croutons, nuts and meats.)

We then "share" our meal, but do not have to pay the "split plate" charges.

An added benefit is that usualy the main entree comes with salad already, so it's almost like we are just ordering another side salad.... It's much cheaper than getting 2 entrees and splitting in 1/2, and we don't have any leftovers...

I also opt for ordering a glass of Water with lemon, which is generally FREE in most restaurants-- not only does this put our waists on a diet, it helps to keep the pocketbook full of money as well.

(Think of it this way--Pop, juices or alcoholic drinks are LOADED with calories.... AND COST.... Iced tea, or coffee (BLACK, or EXTREMELY limited sugar and cream) are a bit better, but they still add $2-4 to the cost of your meal....

If you drink Water with lemon--the lemon usually helps to mask any funny water tastes (unless the water is REALLY BAD in your area), plus, it's almost like drinking a very light lemonade AND it doesn't hit your pocket book! ;-)

WE love to eat out, but by not drinking a paid drink each time, we save a lot of money and unnecessary calories!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006, 12:47 PM

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