(CNN) -- Decades ago, eating out was saved for a special occasion, but today research shows on average, Americans eat out often close to five times a week.Although there are plenty of options for all kinds of food, you don't always have control of the fat and calorie content in your meal
CNN's Holly Firfer shows us how to stay healthy while eating out.
Dr. Andrew Weil has been an advocate for healthy eating since the 1970's.
"I think you really have to have some strategy," said Dr. Weil, who's also an author.
He has some tips for eating out.
"First of all, one good trick is to tell waiters not to bring bread and butter before the meal is served. The quality of bread in most restaurants is terrible, and you can get out of a lot of calories before you even eat the food. So why even have that on the table.
"Another is to ask for dressings and sauces on the side. You want to avoid fried things.
One thing is to ask restaurants for olive oil instead of butter which is a healthier fat.
And you don't have to say, ''I can't believe i ate the whole thing." Watch the portion control. if the meal is too big, order a half portion, share it with someone, or ask for half to go.
Dr. Weil adds if you want to splurge on dessert, go ahead and order something and share it with the whole table.
"Food is a major influence on health but it's also a major source of pleasure. I think the big challenge is for people to experience that food that is good for you can also be food that is delicious," said Dr. Weil.