With the array of restaurants available to us these days, dining out has become the norm rather than the exception. Gone are the days when going out to a restaurant was a unique event saved for special occasions with family or friends. Hectic lifestyles and busy schedules often make dining out a necessity. For many of us it may mean eating out several times per week and for more than one meal in a day. The trouble is that it can very quickly put a stop to your healthy eating plan or weight loss program. The good news is, these days it is a lot easier to eat out healthily than it has ever been. Here are 10 tips to help keep you stay on the right track to better health and a slimmer you.

1. Plan ahead of time. Try and pick a restaurant that has more options of healthy food. Avoid buffets. They often do have some healthy food options, however loading your plate and overeating can be an issue.

2. Take Charge and choose wisely.. Ask your server.. How is this dish prepared? Does it contain butter? Cream? Sauce? How big is it? What else is in this salad? Dressing? Croutons? High-fat cheese? Bacon? Ask that food be prepared without added salt, MSG or salt-containing ingredients. Order off the menu. Many chefs will prepare poached or steamed fish or vegetables rather than fried. Stay away from deep fried.

3. Skip or limit bread, chips, or whatever is in the basket while you await your meal, at the very least skip the butter. If it is too tempting, ask the server to remove it from the table. Out of sight, out of mind.

4. Request salad dressings and sauces on the side. They often contain more calories than the food they are flavoring. The salad dressing of choice would be a light one or even better vinaigrette, again, served on the side. Limit condiments, such as mustard, ketchup, pickles and sauces with salt and sugar-filled ingredients.

5. Avoid dishes with cream, mayonnaise, sour cream, butter and go easy on the cheese.

6. Exchange the french fries for a side salad.

7. Trim visible fat off meat and poultry. Even very lean meat and poultry still contain fat. Peel the skin off the chicken.

8. Ask that your dish be prepared with olive oil, rather than butter or fat.

9. Remember that you do not have to clean your plate. Keep portions small. Put half the meal in a takeout container before you even start eating. Do not gulp your meal down. Digestion starts in the mouth. Chew well.

10. Wait a while before ordering your dessert to let your main meal settle. If you really must order dessert, choose fresh fruit or fruit sorbet rather than sugar laden desserts. If you really can not resist, consider splitting it and share with a friend.

Author's Bio: 

Brendan McCarthy is a health, fitness and nutrition expert and enthusiast and the author of the Jump Start 7 Day Weight Loss Program.. This revolutionary program gives you a step-by-step plan to help you lose weight, cleanse your body, look terrific and boost your energy levels; All through the natural goodness of juicing in just seven short days. Unlock the secrets to successful weight loss and healthy living. Indulge your senses on a delicious journey of great tasting, all natural juice cocktails especially formulated to help you naturally lose weight and feel great fast.