Tips for Eating Healthy When Dining Out

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
Dining out

What we enjoy the most about eating out is that our only job is to eat. Someone else slices the onions, checks the temperature on the meat, stirs the sauce, plates it all pretty, and then washes that pretty plate. Me? I sit. And eat. It’s a beautiful thing. What it’s not, though, is an excuse to go crazy. An occasional splurge will happen, and that’s OK, but you can still enjoy a meal while sticking to a healthy eating plan. Some tips for eating healthy when dining out:

Request a table near the window.

A study out of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab found diners who sat near the window were 80 percent more likely to have salads. The why is unclear, but why not try it anyway.

Read the fine print.

When the dish on the menu is described as rich, creamy, fried, crispy, breaded, smothered or stuffed, it’s likely, well, smothered in fats and stuffed with extra calories. Instead, opt for foods that are steamed, broiled, baked or grilled.

Tweak your meal.

Don’t be afraid to ask for changes—the worst the server can say is no. But swapping out French fries for a baked potato or steamed veggie is not a big deal, nor is asking for salad dressing on the side. Even if you’re ordering a personal-sized pizza, see if the chef can go easy on the cheese.

Start with a soup or salad.

Some research suggests you’ll eat fewer calories overall if you eat a broth-based soup or salad as a first course. And the advice applies whether you are ordering from a menu or serving yourself from a buffet.

Consider your portions.

You’ve no doubt heard this advice, but it’s worth repeating: A restaurant serving is usually enough for two, so split a meal with your dining partner or ask the server to box half your entrée to-go before it even gets to the table.