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Enjoy Food Dates Without Wrecking Your Diet

Try these tips to make those romantic food dates less fattening.

Don’t Drink Your Calories

You want to make sure you have plenty of calories to spend on the food during your date, so choose low- or no-calorie drinks. Try unsweetened iced tea, hot tea, coffee, club soda with lemon or lime, diet soft drinks, or mineral water.

If you must, have only one glass of wine -- or a wine spritzer. Just enjoying two glasses (6 ounces each) of wine will add up to 250 calories.

The Dessert Doggy Bag

Restaurant desserts can be oh-so-tempting. But it may help to keep in mind that your after-dinner romantic activities will be much more pleasing if your stomach is comfortable, not full.

By ordering a mutually agreed upon dessert "to go," the two of you will have a special something to share much later in the evening when your hunger resurfaces. Not only that, but you'll still get to try of few bites of that mesmerizing treat that caught your eye when the dessert tray passed by.

One Meal Won’t Matter, Right?

But come on, you say: One super-rich, greasy, or creamy meal isn’t going to harm your health, right? Research from Australia and Sweden says "wrong!"

The researchers fed a meal that was high in either saturated fat or polyunsaturated fat meal on two separate occasions to 14 healthy men and women. (A high-saturated-fat meal is typical of a special restaurant dinner).

The researchers found that several hours after the high-saturated fat meal, there was a decrease in the ability of the study subjects' "good" (HDL) cholesterol to act as an anti-inflammatory agent and to help arteries relax (which allows for better blood flow). But the anti-inflammatory action of HDLs improved after the subjects ate polyunsaturated fat.

So avoiding restaurant meals high in saturated fat is definitely a good idea -- whether you're trying to lose weight or not.

Don’t Check in to Heartburn Hotel

For the 10% of the population who experience heartburn and reflux daily, a romantic dinner out can lead to pain instead of love and laughter. According to Anthony A. Starpoli, MD, director of the Gastrointestinal Reflux (GERD) Unit at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York, the biggest mistake people make is eating large meals when they dine out.

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