Eating healthier when eating out

Make wise choices when reading restaurant menus and ordering your meal

An evening out for dinner at a restaurant is an enjoyable experience. Spending time with family and friends and not having to cook for the evening are great reasons to go out for dinner. When it comes to eating healthy diet, restaurant meals can sometimes lead to high calorie foods, oversized portions and unwise menu choices. Learning a few tips for navigating restaurant menus and ordering can help you choose delicious and healthy foods to enjoy.

When reading the menu and ordering your meal here a few tips to consider:

  • If you have a question about a menu item, ask your server how it is prepared or what ingredients it contains.
  • Request a vegetable, fruit or salad (with dressing on the side) instead of French fries or onion rings.
  • Choose protein foods (chicken, fish, beef) that are baked, grilled, broiled, roasted or poached rather than fried.
  • Choose water or low-fat milk instead of soda, fruit punch or other sugary drinks.
  • Ask for dressing on the side of a salad or gravy or other sauces on the side.
  • Choose lean cuts of meat or choose skinless chicken or fish.
  • Order thin crust pizza with extra vegetables.
  • Avoid fried foods and added cheese.
  • Be conscious of the portion sizes of menu items. A 12-ounce steak is actually twice the protein most men need for the whole day.
  • Split your meal in half before beginning to eat and place in a take home container. (Be sure to refrigerate the take-out food within two hours.) This will allow you to pre-portion your meal before beginning to eat.
  • Skip high calorie desserts and enjoy fresh fruit instead.
  • Order the kid-sized meal since those portions are much smaller than adult meals.

As you can see, by making some simple requests and asking questions about menu choices, you can choose foods that can fit into any healthy diet.

Read more tips to eating healthy while eating out.

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