Last week, local dietitian Jamie Mascari discussed ways to stick to healthful eating habits while on vacation.

This week, she continues the discussion with tips on how to make wise choices when you’re eating in restaurants, especially for days on end.

Many people see dining out as an immediate downfall for their diets. But by following these six restaurant tips and tricks, Mascari says healthful dining is possible.

1. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO ORDER BEFORE YOU GO

Look up the menu online in advance and search for health-conscious menu items.

2. CURB A RAVENOUS APPETITE

Just like you should never do your grocery shopping on an empty stomach, never arrive at a restaurant hungry.

Have a small snack before you arrive such as piece of fruit, small handful of almonds, or low-fat yogurt.

3. GO EASY ON THE DOUGH

If the restaurant serves complimentary chips or bread, limit yourself to one small serving. A typical breadstick or biscuit contains about 150 calories.

4. ASK IF SPECIAL REQUESTS IN PREPARATION ARE AVAILABLE

For example, ask for grilled chicken instead of fried. Order salad dressing and other sauces and condiments on the side, and use them sparingly. Substitute steamed vegetables for french fries.

Choose red pasta sauce over creamy sauces and always substitute whole-grain pasta or brown rice if it is available.

5. SHARE A MEAL

Many restaurant portion sizes are outrageous so split an entree with a dining partner, or pack up half of the dish in a doggy bag when the meal arrives so you won’t be tempted to eat it all.

6. BEWARE OF YOUR BEVERAGE

Try not to drink your calories. Water is always best but if you can’t resist a soda or sweet tea, stick to one glass and decline any refills.

Alcoholic beverages also contain lots of calories and sugar. A 16-ounce daiquiri or margarita can contain between 750 and 900 calories.

For more information, contact Mascari at (504) 874-1001 or at jamiemascari@gmail.com.