Stay healthy when eating out

Eating out is a fun thing to do with family and friends, and is sometimes necessary if you don’t have time to cook at home. If you’re trying to stick to a healthy diet, there are easy ways to make smart choices when dining out.


Plan ahead

If you know you want to splurge on a favorite high-calorie meal, try to eat well during the rest of the day rather than skipping meals, as doing so can backfire. Eating small, healthy meals throughout the day can help you avoid eating too much and too fast.

Opt for smaller portions

Portion sizes at restaurants have grown larger throughout the years, making it easier to overeat. If you know the restaurant you are going to tends to have big portions, consider splitting an entrée with someone, ordering a couple appetizers or side dishes in place of an entrée, or bringing half of your entrée home.

Make healthy choices

Small changes to how you order can make your meals a lot healthier. An easy way to lower your sugar intake is to opt for water, sparkling water, or unsweetened tea instead of soda or alcoholic beverages.

To add additional fiber to your meal—which can keep you feeling fuller longer and help with digestion—try substituting white bread, pasta, and rice with whole grain equivalents.  

 Additionally, you can swap fried options with broiled, baked, or steamed lean meats–such as chicken or fish– and vegetables. Look to also include greens with your meal–like spinach, kale, or chard.  

Choose a dessert for two

If you have a sweet tooth and can’t say no to taking a peek at the dessert menu, suggest splitting one  or choose a healthier option like fruit or sorbet.

With small adjustments and a plan, you can make healthy choices when eating out and still enjoy your dining experience.

Sources

Cancer.org, “Restaurant Eating Tips,” accessed January 21, 2015, http://www.cancer.org/healthy/eathealthygetactive/takecontrolofyourweight/restaurant-eating-tips.

Livestrong.com, “Are deep-fried foods harmful to the health?”, accessed February 22, 2015, http://www.livestrong.com/article/414700-are-deep-fried-foods-harmful-to-the-health/.

USDA.com, “Tips for Eating Healthy When Eating Out,” accessed January 21, 2015, http://www.choosemyplate.gov/healthy-eating-tips/tips-for-eating-out.html.

Webmd.com, “Healthy cooking oils buyers guide,” accessed February 2, 2015, http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/healthy-cooking-oils-buyers-guide?page=2.

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