Tips from spas on dieting in restaurants: 1. Half an hour before dinner, nibble an appetite spoiler: a few raw vegetable sticks, salad greens, strawberries, melon. Don't start the bulk of your dinner until 40 minutes after your appetite-modifying snack, so that your appetite has time to signal that you are not really famished. 2. Ask someone else to order for you if your willpower flags when faced with a menu of temptations. 3. Drink something quenching rather than caloric: Perrier or club soda with a wedge of lime or lemon or a dash of bitters, orange juice cut with club soda or iced tomato juice. Consider cutting white wine with sparkling water or ice cubes. 4. Construct a meal of two appetizers or soup and appetizer. 5. Soups provide slow caloric intake and are filling. But order clear soups, as creamy ones can hide considerable fat. Eat soup with a teaspoon instead of a soup spoon--it's slower. 6. Order foods that take a lot of time to eat--crabs and artichokes, for example, and use small utensils. Eat dessert with a demitasse spoon. 7. If you are lingering at the table, have any food you don't want to eat quickly removed. 8. Concentrate on vegetables--preferably steamed-- and if necessary pour off or blot excess butter. 9. Baked potatoes are filling and low-calorie, if eaten without butter or sour cream. Try yogurt or cottage cheese as a topping, or a squeeze of lemon. 10. Look for dishes prepared with spices, which can divert attention from lack of salt, oil, butter or crustiness. 11. Ask for dressing, sauce and gravy on the side. For salads, try a dash of vinegar or lemon, or whisk a little mustard into vinegar or yogurt to dress your own salad at the table. 12. Trim visible fats before you start eating. Spoon grease off soups. Order foods grilled without butter, poached or baked rather than fried. The paler the meat, the less fatty it is likely to be; chicken and veal are less fatty than lamb or beef. 13. For dessert, ask for fresh fruit--it may be listed under appetizers rather than desserts--but beware of fruit salads already sugared or macerated in liqueurs. 14. If you can't resist tasting a highly caloric dish, share it with others at the table. 15. Investigate ethnic restaurants: look for grilled and skewered dishes in Middle Eastern restaurants, yogurt-based dishes in Indian restaurants, steamed Chinese and Japanese dishes.