Health Tips for Dining Out
Research has shown that people generally consume more calories and eat less healthfully when eating out. Whether you dine at a fast-food or expensive restaurant, there are simple strategies that can help.
Before you dine
- Manage your hunger: Grab a light snack or beverage before you go out.
- Check the menu: Make sure it has good choices and/or will allow substitutions.
- The bread/butter pitfall: Ask for the free chips or bread to be served with the meal or not at all.
- Drink a sugarless beverage while you wait.
Know some key words
How a food is cooked can determine how healthy it is. Use the name and description of a dish to help you enjoy low-fat meals.
- Creamy or Creamed
- Alfredo (cheese & cream sauce)
- Au Gratin (with cheese)
- Scampi (in butter sauce)
- Bisque (creamy soup)
- Hollandaise (egg yolk and oil sauce)
Slice the portion size
Restaurant portion sizes have ballooned over the last two decades. Try these techniques to enjoy healthful portion sizes, and you may even save money.
- Share your meal with a friend.
- Before you dig in ask for and separate half your meal into a doggie bag.
- Order smaller items, such as an appetizer and soup.
- Eat slowly to help you realize if you’re full.
- On the side: Ask for any high-fat condiments, such as dressings and sauces to be served on the side.
- Substitute: For example, on pizza, substitute vegetable toppings instead of sausage and pepperoni; try whole wheat crusts.
- Hold the butter: Order vegetables with nothing or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
- Fruit desserts: Order a fruity dessert and share it with a friend.