A recent survey found that Americans eat 4.8 meals a week at restaurants instead of at home — which means we all have several opportunities to get duped into eating too much and making poor choices. And many times, the restaurants themselves are conspiring against our diet and our health. Here are five tricks to try to avoid.

Freebies on the table: Before you even have a chance to peruse the menu for (hopefully) healthy options, your server deposits some tidbits on the table. “Mindlessly snacking can add more than 300 calories to your dinner,” says Pam Fullenweider, RDN, a Houston-based dietitian. Whether it’s chips and salsa or bread and butter, you’ll be better off not filling up on the freebies on top of eating a full meal.

Too much choice: It’s the rare person who can stick to a healthy diet when confronted with an opulent, all-you-can-eat buffet. And while there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself on occasion, do it consciously. “Peruse the buffet first to see all that’s available before you start filling your plate,” says Karen Dolins, EdD, RD, a nutrition consultant in White Plains, NY. “Then go through the line and select only those items you’ve decided you …read more

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