Here are a few healthy hints when ordering at a favorite restaurant:

Mexican

Choose whole beans instead of refried.

Choose lean, grilled meat, chicken or fish.

Choose salads with plenty of vegetables, lettuce, tomatoes and salad. If ordering a taco salad, have the salad served on a plate instead of a fried taco shell.

Guacamole is a great source of healthy fats — just choose a small portion.

When it comes to tacos, choose soft instead of fried shell; choose corn over flour tortillas.

Limit the “free” tortilla chips (which can have as many as 900 calories per basket).

Chinese

Pick wonton or hot and sour soup instead of egg drop.

Choose steamed instead of fried dumplings.

Select meat, fish and shellfish that is broiled, steamed, boiled or lightly stir-fried instead of items that are breaded and deep-fried.

Select steamed rice instead of fried (and watch the portion size).

Use chop sticks instead of a fork or spoon.

Ask for sauces to be served on the side to reduce sodium content.

Italian

Select filling soups such as minestrone.

Request salad dressing on the side.

Choose whole wheat pasta (if it is available) — ask for lunch or “kiddie” portions.

Select tomato, marsala or marinara sauce instead of Alfredo or carbonara.

Watch the bread sticks (which contain as many as 200 calories each).

If ordering pizza, add extra vegetables; for those who like meat, choose Canadian bacon over sausage.

For more information on this topic, contact the Harrison County Extension Office at (903) 935-8414.

Information prepared by Jenna Anding, Ph.D., R.D., Associate Professor and Extension nutrition specialist; March 2014.

— Louisareal McDonald is the county agent for family and community health in Harrison County.