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Calorie- and Money-Saving Tips For Eating Out

Tips For Eating Out That Save Your Waistline and Your Wallet

Skipping meals out is one way to save on money and calories, but not everyone can stand to eat at home all the time. If you occasionally enjoy the luxury of dining out, arm yourself with these calorie-saving tips that are also good for your wallet.

  • Split an entrée: Since portion sizes can be out of control at many restaurants, there's no way you could finish an entire meal on your own anyway.
    Calories saved: 200 to 600 (or more)
    Money saved: $10 to $15
  • Order an entrée and a takeout container: If your dinner partner isn't into splitting a meal, split it with yourself. As soon as the meal arrives, immediately package half for tomorrow's lunch.
    Calories saved: 200 to 600 (or more)
    Money saved: $10 to $15
  • Order vegetarian: Nonmeat meals like huge salads or stir-frys are full of fiber from veggies and whole grains. That means they tend to be lower in calories and fat than entrées such as steak or chicken (which often come with high-calorie sides like buttery mashed potatoes). As a bonus, they also tend to be a few bucks cheaper.
    Calories saved: 100 to 500 (or more)
    Money saved: $5 to $7

Keep reading for more calorie- and money-saving tips when eating out.

  • Order from the kid's menu: Kids don't eat as much, so portion sizes are smaller. Just be sure to choose a healthy option such as pasta, a veggie and hummus sandwich, or flatbread pizza (not hot dogs or fried chicken fingers).
    Calories saved: 50 to 200
    Money saved: $6 to $10
  • Opt for water or seltzer instead of cocktails: Tap water doesn't cost anything and is free of calories, but a cocktail can run you a few hundred calories. Depending on how many drinks you order while out, sipping water, tea, or seltzer can save you both on calories and money.
    Calories saved: 120 to 500 (or more)
    Money saved (on two cocktails): $12 to $25
  • Skip dessert: While not the tip you want to hear, decadent desserts like cheesecake can rack up over 50 calories per forkful. When the waitress asks if you'd like to see the dessert menu, politely decline and ask for the bill instead.
    Calories saved: 300 to 600 (or more)
    Money saved: $5 to $8
Source: Thinkstock
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