Going out to eat and trying new restaurants can be challenging if you’re trying to eat healthy, but not if you go in with a smart plan.

1. Drinks-“Water First”

I always say, “water first,” so even if you are ordering wine or a cocktail, always start with water.

2. Appetizer

Set the tone for a strong meal by skipping the bread basket and order something sensible. Look for an appetizer with veggies or protein like a minestrone soup, ahi tuna tartare, stuffed mushrooms or Brussels sprouts.

3. Main Course

Start by choosing a protein that sounds most appealing, like seafood, chicken, steak or tofu. Ask the waiter to substitute the starchy side, like mashed potatoes, for an extra veggie side, like garlicky green beans, and you’re good to go.

4. Dessert

If it’s not an extra special occasion, it’s best to go straight to asking for the check. At this point, you have likely eaten more and later than usual, and will feel much better in the morning if you end the meal here. If you are with company that orders dessert and it looks good, you can always try “1 bite to taste.”

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