1) Pick the Right Restaurant

Many national chain restaurants – such as Applebee’s, Ruby Tuesday’s, Chili’s and Olive Garden – offer healthy menu items and post their nutritional information online. In addition to the menu offerings, consider your personal soft spots. If you can’t resist chips and enchiladas, for example, avoid a restaurant that serves them.

2) Order From Home

To decrease the temptation to make poor choices, decide what you’ll order before you enter the restaurant. Think about what categories to order from. If you know you want dessert or to munch on bread or chips, stick with a low-carb entrée.

3) Side, Split and Save

Order sauce and dressings on the side; share an entrée with your companion; and save half of your portion for another meal.

4) Dine Off-Peak

If you’re eating during a restaurant’s prime time, such as 8 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday night, it will be more difficult for the cooks to accommodate your special request. As chef Kathleen Daelemans explains, “They can’t jeopardize every other diner in the restaurant to make you happy.” If possible, dine out before or after the afternoon and evening rushes.