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What Nutritionists Order When Eating Out

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 07/28/11 10:08 AM ET   Updated: 09/27/11 06:12 AM ET

A new study has found that only 1 out of 6 diners pay attention to posted nutrition information on menus -- and while some is better than none, the reality is that the each meal eaten outside of the home tacks on an average of 134 calories to your day.

What's worse is that even for those who are conscious of calorie counts at restaurants, another recent report analyzing foods from 42 restaurants found that nearly 1 in 5 of those numbers may actually be incorrect.

So with conflicting messages, what is a health conscious dieter to do? To help you navigate your next menu, we asked four nutritionists to tell us how they order at various types of restaurants, from a pizza place to an ice cream parlor to a burger joint.

The experts we spoke to include registered dietitians Julie Upton and Katherine Brooking, founders of AppForHealth.com, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, Toby Smithson and registered dietitian and resident nutritionist for "The Biggest Loser," Cheryl Forberg.

Here's their guide to maximizing nutrients, cutting back on calories, taking healthy shortcuts and yes, even indulging in moderation.

Burger Joint
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What Our Experts Choose:

-I look for a veggie burger and order it without mayo. I won't eat at a burger place if they do not offer a veggie burger or a salad with cheese (I eat cheese on my salad so that I can get protein at that meal).

Watch out for any extra add-ons that will increase the fat and saturated fat of the meal, like mayonnaise or special cream sauces. Also watch the high-fat sides like french fries. Ordering a salad with the dressing on the side as a side dish helps you meet the recommendations of filling half of your plate with vegetables!
-- Toby Smithson, RD

-I usually get a burger -- but protein-style, without fries but with lots of veggies! Luckily I love mustard, which unlike ketchup, has no sugar. Occasionally I'll have cheese or avocado on my burger as well.

To drink, opt for water or iced tea.
--Cheryl Forberg, RD
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