Restaurants are more accommodating than you might think - a 1988 National Restaurant Association survey found that nearly 90% of all table service restaurants will alter food preparations on request. Here's how to design delicious, low-risk meals with a chef's help.
* GAIN THE EDGE ON HUNGER by starting with a broth-based soup, fruit, raw vegetables, unbuttered bread, or a light seafood appetizer.
* CHOOSE ENTREES that are steamed, poached, broiled, roasted, baked, or cooked in their own juices. Fish is almost always the best choice. Pass up anything fried or sautied.
* CUT THE FAT off red meats and remove the skin from your chicken before eating it.
* STAY AWAY FROM THICK, RICH SAUCES and stick to ones that are thin and stock-based. Avoid hollandaise, bearnaise, beurre blanc, or anything that sounds like gravy. Choose red pasta sauces over white.
* ASK FOR YOUR VEGETABLES STEAMED.- ORDER SALAD DRESSINGS ON THE SIDE and then use them sparingly. Try lemon juice, plain vinegar, or buttermilk dressing as low-fat alternatives.
* EAT SMALL PORTIONS or order half-portions at a reduced rate
* and never stuff yourself. As your stomach expands, so does your appetite.
THE RIGHT DIET
The best commercial diet programs focus on smart food choices. No plan is perfect, but the good ones all have the following features in common:
* Recommend food that is low in fat and sugar, and high in complex carbohydrates, such as breads and vegetables.
* Teach you how to cook delicious low-fat meals that are quick and easy to prepare.
* Include an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals.
* Ask you to eat at least 1,100 calories a day.
* Allow you to eat a variety of foods you like in moderation.
* Let you go out to restaurants.
* Encourage new eating habits and exercise.
AVOID CRASHING AND POPPING. Studies show that people who repeatedly go on and off crash diets actually gain weight over time. The sad fact is that the only thing crash dieters ever learn is how to starve. Suppressing your appetite with mot diet pills only risks a number of nasty side effects, such as irritability, insomnia, high blood pressure, and dependency. Plus, once you stop taking them, any weight you've lost will probably sneak right back on. Weight control is learned behavior.
There is more flexibility with diets and weight loss programs now, and there are even prepared foods especially recommended for the weight conscious person. The low fat and low sodium foods are especially recommended on almost every diet and all supermarkets now have a section devoted to these special foods.