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How to Eat Healthy on the Road
Healthy Dining Guide for Business Travelers
by Dr. Jo Lichten

Healthy Dining Options and Advice
Sesame Glazed Salmon Chops at Seasons 52 in Orlando, a restaurant that prides itself on healthy dishes. Click here for more information.

Business travelers eat all of their meals in restaurants. But large meals and fatty foods don't have to spell nutritional disaster. Here are some tips to eat healthy in restaurants:

1. Get it your way. Not only are you paying for the meal, you have to wear the excess calories. So ask for it your way:

  • Order grilled chicken instead of fried on the salad; bean soup rather than refried beans.

  • Ask the kitchen not to brush your fajitas, steak, chicken or fish with butter.

  • Ask for your pizza to be prepared "light" on the cheese.

  • Since every tablespoon of mayonnaise, dressing, butter, and oil contains 100 calories, ask for them "on the side" so you can "dip and stab".

  • Do your heart and belly a favor by asking for half the meat and double the vegetables — even in your stir-fry.

  • Special order a healthier (low fat/calorie, vegetarian or fruit plate) airline meal and give more than 24-hour notice.

  • Ask for a luncheon or appetizer portion. Many restaurants can accommodate — even if it's not on the menu. Want eggplant parmigiana? Get the appetizer portion.

2. Make Miss Manners mad. Perhaps "Miss Manners" would object, but she doesn't have to fit into your jeans, so:

  • Trim off the visible fat on the meat

  • Pull off the chicken skin.

  • Scrape off the breading or excess sauce and drain off the excess butter or oil.

  • Pat the pizza with a paper napkin to remove some of the grease.

3. Control your portions. Since it's hard not to eat everything that's served, try these ideas:

  • Order a la carte or just tell them what you want (i.e. two enchiladas instead of three).

  • Take a slice of bread and then give the basket back to the server.

  • Get the doggie bag with dinner and immediately put away half your meal. Then leave the box behind.

  • Use chopsticks. They make you eat slower, so you eat less.

  • To eliminate the temptation to keep nibbling when you've had enough, salt the rest of your dinner heavily or pour on the hot sauce.

  • 4. Check the "price" tag. Think of calories as the "price" you'll have to pay (on your waist). Did you know that:

    • A large cinnamon roll has over 800 calories and more than a half a stick of butter?

    • One "loaded" nacho has more than 100 calories?

    • Your morning mocha coffee contains more than 300 calories?

    • A large fountain drink has 300 calories?

5. Make leaner substitutions.

    • Since juice has the same number of calories as soda, order fresh fruit instead.

    • Ask for egg substitutes; they're just one-third the calories of eggs.

    • Order Canadian bacon or ham instead of bacon or sausage.

    • In addition to skinless chicken and fish, choose from leaner cuts of beef (sirloin, filet, London broil, New York) or pork tenderloin.

    • Request pasta with tomato sauce instead of cream. If you really want cream sauce, ask them to use half the usual amount for a lighter, still flavorful pasta.

    • Instead of a full meal, order salad and a healthy appetizer such as: shrimp cocktail; Thai summer rolls; chicken satays; sushi; steamed vegetable dumplings; and pizza ("light on the cheese").

6. Beware of the Extras. Many meals can be made healthier just by cutting out some of the "extras". For example:

    • For an extra 100 calories, choose from: 1 tablespoon mayonnaise or salad dressing, 1 cheese slice; 2 strips bacon; sautéed mushrooms; sliced avocado, 1 large onion ring; 7 potato puffs; 10 regular fries or 20 skinny French fries. Take your pick!

    • While the calories in sugar and cream aren't much per teaspoon, it all adds up! If you eat just 10 calories more than your body needs, you'll put on a pound of fat each year.

Dr. Jo helps busy people stay healthy, sane, and productive through her books, articles, media appearances, and speaking engagements. She has presented more than 1000 programs to companies and conventions. Dr. Jo has written four books including: Dining Lean, How to Stay Healthy & Fit on the Road, and Dr Jo's No Big Deal Diet. Her Web site is