In his book The Get with the Program! Guide to Fast Food and Family Restaurants, fitness expert Bob Greene says being an informed diner can save you hundreds of calories in just one meal. One key is to snack before going out to eat, he says. "Buffer that hunger. There is nothing more dangerous than showing up at a restaurant really hungry."

Bob offers these tips for dining out at:

Italian Restaurants
  • Skip the bread basket altogether. Ask the wait staff to take it away, or negotiate it down to one piece. "Do not have it sitting in front of you for the whole meal," Bob says.
  • Split the pasta dishes. The portions are large enough for two.
  • A great choice for a meal is a soup. "Minestrone is terrific," Bob says.
  • Avoid anything called "parmagiana." Bob explains, "Pretty much that's always fried and layered with cheese all over it."
Chinese Restaurants
  • Watch the oil and avoid anything deep-fried. There's an assumption that most of these dishes are stir-fried, but that's not really true.
  • Most of the calories are hidden in the sauces.
  • Say no to egg rolls—they are filled with fat.
  • Avoid dishes with eggplant in them—they soak up the oil like a sponge.
  • Choose brown rice over white. Don't mistake fried rice for brown rice.
  • Fortune cookies are okay to eat—they only have about 30 calories.
Mexican Restaurants
  • Skip the chips and nachos.
  • Substitute salsa for other toppings such as cheese, guacamole and sour cream.
  • Avoid quesadillas and enchiladas that are filled with cheese. Tamales are filled with fat.
  • Only eat half a burrito—save the rest for later.
  • Taco salads are a good option—just don't eat the shell. The shell will double the calories.
  • Fajitas are a good option. Load them up with veggies and salsa, but skip the sour cream.
  • For more information on Bob Greene and his health program, visit


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