09/22/2011 11:28 am ET | Updated Oct 01, 2012

Slimming Tricks

In NYC, the restaurant capital of the world, it would be difficult to not find your food of choice, whether it's Italian, American, Asian, French or one of my favorites, Mexican. The choices are plentiful, and navigating your way through the menu and the meal while keeping your waistline in check often seems like an impossible task. Here are some basic tricks and tips that I share with my clients.

THE MENU: Before going out, check the menu online. The best offense is a prepared good defense. Make sure there are some healthy choices available - lean proteins like chicken, turkey or fish.

SNACKING: Now that you have some idea what you may eat, the next step is critical. When I was growing up, my mother always fed us a light meal before going out. "Never go out hungry" she would say. Her thinking was that other people would think that we weren't properly cared for. I actually have turned that one around a bit and encourage my clients to never leave home or the office with an empty, hungry belly. Having a light snack before going out can be the difference between a healthy, sensible dinner and an overindulgent, unhealthy one. Some snacks could be a handful of almonds, a delicious protein shake, a Kirschbar, or an apple with a spoonful of almond butter.

SAY NO TO THE BREAD BASKET!! - That also means bread sticks, crackers and anything that goes crunch. They are filled with unhealthy carbs and if present at the table, are often consumed mindlessly.

DON'T BE SHY - Don't be afraid to tell the waiter what you want and how you want it. I make sure to say that I don't want my food prepared with any extra butter, oil or salt. Invisible to the eye but not the pallet, these extra fats and sodium can turn an otherwise healthy meal unhealthy.

ALCOHOL - I know, there's nothing like a good glass of Italian red wine, but avoid the pitfalls of drinking prior to the appetizers. The sharpest minds and most disciplined diners can stray to "the dark side" and consume baskets of bread and make unhealthy food choices when clouded with alcohol. Additionally, limit yourself to one or two glasses of red wine.

PREPARATIONS: Broiled, baked or roasted are the ways to have your proteins and veggies prepared. Avoid fried and even sautéed foods as they add unnecessary calories

DESSERTS - I know I am going to sound like the Grinch, but we all know that they are to be avoided. If you're absolutely craving a little something sweet, then go for the sorbet or some other fruit dessert. The rule here is having one or two mouthfuls and that's it!!