When you eat dinner at a restaurant, it’s easy to eat more than 1,500 or 2,000 calories at one sitting. Yikes! That’s a full day’s worth of calories.

Pre-dinner bread & butter: 200 calories

Pre-dinner cocktail: 150 calories

Appetizer: potentially a 500-1,500 calorie bomb

Steak: 300-500 calories

Potato: 150-300 calories

Vegetable: 100 calories

Beverage: 150 calories

Dessert: 300-750 calories

After-dinner drink: 150 calories

And that’s only if you control yourself. If you go on a feeding frenzy, you could be looking at 2,500 or even 3,000 calories. Those numbers are scary.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this dietary nightmare while dining out. Here are five guidelines for cutting 1,000 calories from your restaurant meals…

1. Plan ahead and avoid restaurants that serve huge portions. (Cheesecake Factory and Outback Steakhouse, for example.)

2. Skip the bread. Eating it won’t stop you from eating your full meal too, so just send it back.

3. Don’t order booze or liquid calories of any type.

4. Avoid potatoes. Stick to your protein and your vegetables.

5. Reward yourself with only the tiniest bit of dessert, if any.

It’s all about taking responsibility for your choices.

[Ed. Note: You don’t have to eat bland, boring food to stay healthy. But you DO have to make smart choices when it comes to your eating habits. And to burn the calories you consume at restaurants, begin a fat-blasting resistance-training regimen like fitness expert Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence Training program.]

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com