This is my favorite time of year,  the sun is shining, days are longer and everything is in full swing. It is also when I look forward to going out for a beautiful dinner on the water and kicking back.  Living my healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy a good dinner or dessert.   I follow the 80/20 rule, which means that 80% of the time I follow a clean, healthy regimen but sometimes my body has cravings… this is where that 20% comes in.  I don’t believe in neglecting yourself a slice of cake, a summer cocktail or your favorite meal as long as you return back to your healthy habits after.   Eating out can be tricky sometimes; everything looks so yummy that we forget that it might be high in calories.  I have composed a little cheat sheet to help you get through the tough choices on those fancy menus.

First try checking out the menu before hand and deciding what you are going to order can help you stay on track. See if the restaurant offers small plate options.  Order a salad and suggest sharing an entree with someone.  Remember that you can also ask your server to wrap up half of your meal, this helps you to avoid cleaning your plate.

Menu Tips
Appetizers:   If you see something that interests you, see if someone wants to share it with you.  Try to avoid breaded and fried appetizers and choose ones that primarily have fruits and vegetables.

Soups: Who does love a good bowl of Lobster Bisque soup… mmm I can taste it now.  However, most cream or chowder soups are loaded with calories. This is where that 20% comes in, if you’re like me and really want it then have it.  If you can live without, choose a broth or tomato base soup.

Breads:  This can be some people’s weak spot, if you must have bread choose a whole-grain slice or breadsticks and crackers.  If you can avoid it all together, ask the server not bring it to the table.

Salads:  Are great, healthy options, they help you to avoid overeating a large entrée.  Look for salads that have dark leafy greens or spinach that limit the high calorie add-ons like, cheese, croutons, fried meats or creamy dressings. Ask for a light dressing on the side, so you can control how much you use.

Side Dishes: Opt for steam veggies, rice, fresh fruits, baked potatoes or a side salad.  Avoid ones like French fries, chips and dishes that have mayo-based or creamy sauces.

Entrees: Look for options that say “baked” “broiled” “grilled” “poached” “roasted” or “steamed.”  Dishes that have creamy sauces or that are fried and stuff will have high calories.

Desserts:  Who doesn’t love dessert!  You can choose to share your favorite dessert or have fresh fruit, sorbet or sherbet.

Remember the 80/20 rule, it’s ok to indulge if you want to, but most importantly  HAVE FUN!!! You deserve it!