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**Going out for dinner and want to stick to your healthy eating plan? It’s not as hard as you think. If you want to stick to your diet when dining out, get comfortable with asking your server to help you meet your needs. There are several ways to modify dishes when eating out. Here are my top three dining-out tactics:

Educate yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask your server lots of questions about the restaurant’s food so that you can make healthy choices. Ask what’s used in the preparation, how large the portion is, what comes on the side — these are all things you want to know now that you are eating right.

Make substitutions. I’m always ordering chicken fajitas, but instead of the Mexican rice and refried beans, I ask for a salad on the side. Ask for grilled vegetables instead of a baked potato or french fries, sliced tomatoes instead of hash browns. You get the idea — this stuff will take a little extra thought at first, but in no time it will become second nature.

Make modifications. If you have scoured the menu and there are no healthy options, you can usually create your own by requesting a few modifications to the preparation of your food. Ask if you can have your fish grilled instead of breaded; ask if you can have Dijon mustard sauce on the chicken instead of cream sauce; request salad dressing on the side; ask for the chef to use just a small amount of olive oil.

Bon appetite!**