Eating out is never easy when you are on a diet, as it is difficult to stay on track when you’re not the one preparing the food. You would think that ordering a salad in a restaurant is the safest bet if you are on a calorie-restricted diet. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. With all the different salad dressings and toppings to choose from these days, it’s easy to see how salads can turn your diet upside down in a hurry. Some of the typical restaurant-made salads have roughly 350 calories in them, enough to keep you busy on the treadmill for about 45 minutes. If you are trying to play it safe, try these top five key tips to keeping your diet in check when ordering a salad in a restaurant:

Always order the house salad.

This is typically the most basic salad on the menu with the least amount of unhealthy surprises.

Always ask to have the dressing on the side.

Unlike most dieters, chefs will always choose taste over calories. It is best to ask for your dressing on the side so you can control your own caloric destiny.

Hold the croutons.

Whether they’re whole wheat or white, baked or fried, croutons don’t offer much nutritional value and will only help to spike the total caloric intake of your salad.

Ask for low-fat dressing.

Most restaurants will offer low-fat and low-calorie dressing options for their health-conscious customers.

Don’t add cheese to your salad.

Cheese has a lot of calories and fat, and when you’re on a diet, every little bit counts.

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