Q: When we eat out, we often go to the local diner, but then I often put on a pound or two. How can I eat healthier?

A: Who doesn't love eating at a diner? There is no better place to get a down-home satisfying meal. When you are trying to eat healthy, a diner can be a challenge, but armed with a few simple rules you can have your blue-plate special and be healthy, too:

Swap the Sides. Nowadays everything comes with a side order of fries, so ask for sliced tomato, a green salad or fruit instead.

Ask for the sauce on the side so you are in control of how much you eat.

Just eat half of your meal and take the other half home. Diners are usually open to doggie bags.

No one needs a piece of cake the size of a phone book, and often desserts are so huge they've got about the same amount of calories as a whole meal. Skip it and have a sane-sized dessert at home. But, if you do go for dessert, share it with the table.

Take a look at the daily specials. They are usually seasonal, fresh foods, which makes them nutritionally rich.

Choose menu items that are grilled, baked or sauteed.

Avoid or limit fried foods.

Get creative and make some of your diner favorites in your own kitchen. They will be tastier and better for you!

(For more information, visit www.foodnetwork.com or write Ask Food Network c/o Viewer Services Culinary Department, Scripps Networks, PO Box 50970, Knoxville, TN 37950.)