Eating Healthy When Dining Out

Take Charge!

You do not have to blow your healthy food plan when eating away from home.

Some Tips:

  • Plan ahead.

  • Watch portion size.

  • Know the best “eat-out” foods.

  • Include foods you love when you can.

Before you go out make sure you think ahead.

  • Choose a restaurant with plenty of menu choices.

  • Use apps like HealthyOut to find healthy restaurant options or just do a quick google search for healthy, local or organic restaurants around you. A good online resource is

  • Go online to preview the menu, or call and ask what healthy choices they offer. Look for foods that are “lean,” “light” or “heart healthy.” Generally, gluten-free dishes tend to be on the healthier side as well.

  • If you have a gathering or celebration to go to, eat a snack before you go out. It helps, believe me. Do not wait until you are starving, you will end up overeating.

  • Know how to choose smart amounts of food you like and add in vegetables to take the edge of your hunger. A good strategy is to order a side of raw or steamed vegetables right away.

  • Try new foods to make eating out more fun and to add variety to your diet.

When you get there make sure to eat small portions.

  • Split a meal with someone else.

  • Ask for half a portion or order a child’s portion.

  • Eat part of your food and have the waiter box the other half right away to take home.

  • Order sauces and salad dressings on the side use just a little. Often people do not realize how much fat and calories are in dressings. Avoid creamy or sugary dressings and instead order oil,vinegar and fresh squeezed lemon.

  • Customize your order. Ask for a side salad or steamed vegetables instead of heavy breads, buns and pastas. Ask for extra vegetables and less meat.

  • Hydrate throughout the day and before your meal. Drink a full glass of water right before. I guarantee you will get full much quicker.

  • Chew your food and eat slowly. This helps you digest it better and the motion of chewing sends a signal to your stomach that you are getting full so you eat less.

  • Build your own tasty meal “to order".

Look for more of these on the menu:

  • Salads: Lots of dark leafy greens and lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, and other fresh fruits and vegetables. Grilled salmon, tuna, salmon, hard-boiled eggs and nuts make great add-ins. Top with lemon juice and a little oil.

  • Protein: Grilled sautéed or baked organic lean meats such as chicken and turkey. Avoid anything that is crusted or in heavy sauce.

  • Light tuna, salmon or white fish

  • Broccoli, carrots, peppers, green beans, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, asparagus or baked beans as side or main dishes.

  • Whole grains such as brown or wild rice, oatmeal, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, millet,

  • Baked, boiled or roasted.

  • Steamed rice or fresh fruit.

  • Olive-oil vinaigrette, broth, wine, squeezed lemon juice, mustard, salsa or other low-fat sauces.

  • Plain, sparkling or mineral water with a lemon slice or tea (hot or unsweetened). Stevia is a good alternative to sugar.

Avoid these foods:

  • Cheese, croutons, bacon bits, coleslaw, potato or pasta salads made with creamy dressing.

  • Ground beef, steak, ribs, bacon, sausages, hot dogs and deli meats.

  • Shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. These all have high levels of mercury.

  • Vegetables that are breaded cooked in butter or covered with sauce.

  • Refined grains such as white rice or bread, corn bread, grits, flour and corn tortillas, crackers, pretzels, noodles, spaghetti, corn flakes and macaroni. They have a very glycemic index causing the blood sugar to spike.

  • French fries, potato chips, home fries, twice baked or potato salad.

  • Onion rings or mayonnaise-based salads.

  • Gravy, cheese, cream, butter and meat sauces.

  • Mayonnaise, tartar sauce, “secret” sauce, butter and sour cream.

  • Croissants, biscuits, garlic bread or doughnuts.

  • Sodas or sugary, flavored coffee drinks.

  • Cake, pie, cookies, cheesecake, ice cream. Eat just a little and split with friends.

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