By Leslie Barrie

You've heard how diet-unfriendly dining out can be (2,120 calories for cheese fries with chili and ranch dressing at Chili's!), but healthy, low-cal options do exist at your favorite chain restaurants. "You just have to know what and how to order," says Cynthia Sass, R.D., author of "S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds, and Lose Inches."

Many chains are expanding the healthy fare sections of their menus. Follow the lead of these famous diet doctors, nutritionists and trainers, who swap sauces, skinny up cocktails and even order off the menu.

Romano's Macaroni Grill
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Debbie Koenig, chef and author of "Parents Need to Eat Too: Nap-Friendly Recipes, One-Handed Meals, and Time-Saving Kitchen Tricks for New Parents"

I'm ordering: Mediterranean Olives (split), Goat Cheese Peppadew Peppers (split), Pollo Caprese, White Peach Sorbet

"For a carb lover like me, it's easy to overdo it at an Italian restaurant, but here they have more than enough healthy options to make me happy. I start with peppers and olives -- you can't beat their healthy fats -- for the table.

The Pollo Caprese, a grilled chicken breast served with a small (read: normal-size) portion of pasta, plus an arugula salad, all for 560 calories, is perfect for one. To end the meal with something sweet, I get sorbet -- at 160 calories, there's no need to share!"

I would never get: Pasta Di Mare

"Even though it has seafood, 1,320 calories and 16 grams of saturated fat is just way too much for an entrée unless you're splitting it three ways."

More from Health.com:
Eat Out for Less (Calories!)
The Best and Worst Burgers
10 States That Consume Too Much Fast Food


Flickr photo by NNECAPA

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