For the last few years, Jean Poppert has been watching what she eats.
"If we go out to eat I try to make sure I eat less at lunch," Jean Poppert says.
She's cutting back on more than just calories.
"I have stopped going out to eat as often because it is more difficult to make those healthy choices," Poppert says.
Poppert used to dine out several times a month.
She and seven other women with the American Heart Association's BetterU Challenge are learning healthy choices don't have to be hard ones.
You just need to know what to lookout for.
"In restaurants you aren't going to have the perfect option. It's all about choosing the better choices," Bethany Filmer a Dietitian at Madonna Proactive says.
Fulmer helps them decipher menu language.
She breaks it down like this:
Meats: Look for items that say grilled, baked, broiled or poached. Avoid items that say crispy, fried, battered and tempura.
"Your deep fried will add a lot of that extra fat and calories," Fulmer says.
The size and cut of the meat matters too. Stick with 3 ounces or about the size of a deck of cards.
"You want "round" or "loin" to be in the title. Sirloin, tenderloin, pork loin, top round steak or roast. Those will be your leaner cuts of meat," Fulmer says.
For marinades, soups and sauces, Fulmer sticks with one simple rule:
"Typically if you can see through it, it's going to be a healthier option than some of the cloudy white or creamy options," Fulmer says.
Although she warns broth based soups are higher in sodium.
Fulmer says don't be afraid to ask how something is prepared.
"I've been to some restaurants where they cook their green beans in bacon fat! Yes they are veggies but what else is being put into those?" questioned Fulmer.
And you can special order or ask for items "on the side."
These are all lessons Poppert is taking to heart.
"I know that you can't always say I'm never going out to eat and I know that you can't say I'll never have a celebration or partake in something so you just have to make sure that you're making those wise choices when you're doing it," Poppert says.
Here's more advice:
To control portion sizes, Fulmer suggests splitting an entree with a friend, only ordering an appetizer or boxing up half your plate before you eat so you're not tempted to eat everything on your plate.
Believe it or not, Fulmer says sometimes beef burgers are better for you than veggie burgers. According to Fulmer, sometimes veggie burgers are veggie patties packed with oats and bread crumbs. She refers to it as quote "basically putting some bread and oatmeal in between buns." She suggests soy burgers or bocca burgers instead.
And if you are looking to order a turkey burger, make sure it specifically says "turkey breast". Otherwise it will be a mix between white and dark meats which will be higher in fat. In that case, Fulmer says beef burgers are your best option.
When in doubt, you can check for nutritional information online. Many chain restaurants will have their menu and nutritional facts posted on their website.