How can I Eat Healthier When Dining out?

Lauren Romano
Lauren Romano
Balsamic vinegar, which can be used in place of less healthy salad dressings.
Balsamic vinegar, which can be used in place of less healthy salad dressings.

Eating at restaurants hasn’t always been known as the best option for someone that is trying to consume healthier foods. There is a lot of temptation when dining out to chow down on food that isn’t so good for you. You don’t have to give up on your love of restaurants. There are ways that you can eat healthier when dining out while still enjoying the experience.

Drinking water instead of soda is just one way to eat healthier when dining out.
Drinking water instead of soda is just one way to eat healthier when dining out.

One method that you can use to eat healthier when dining out is to take time to read the nutrition information. Some restaurants post it on their menus or list it on their website. If you know that you’re going to visit a certain restaurant, you should take the time to check the website first. If the nutrition information is not listed, you could check the menu at the eatery before you order.

A restaurant's waitstaff is usually familiar with how specific meals are prepared.
A restaurant's waitstaff is usually familiar with how specific meals are prepared.

Another way that you can eat healthier when dining out is to ask for dressing on the side. You never know how much is actually going to be put on your food. When you put it on yourself you can limit how much you actually use. Also, consider choosing balsamic vinegar as your dressing of choice over other possibly unhealthy options.

All eateries have water available, whether it is complimentary or you have to purchase it. You should opt to drink water over alcoholic beverages or soda, which sometimes contain a lot of calories. You could end up saving a few dollars as well.

Order salad dressing on the side for a healthier dining out option.
Order salad dressing on the side for a healthier dining out option.

Sauces are another way that you can sometimes get stuck consuming extra calories. If you want to eat healthier when dining out, you may want to think about skipping cream or butter sauces. Instead, consider choosing a sauce such as marinara that could add a rich flavor to your food without the extra calories.

When you order a meal at a restaurant, you sometimes don’t know ahead of time how big your portion size will be. An easy way to eat healthier when dining out is to take control of your portion size. You could order a smaller version of an entrée, such as one that is served as an appetizer or a lunch portion over one that is served at dinner. Also you may consider eating a small part of what’s on your plate and taking the rest home with you.

Knowing the nutritional value in meals can help when making a selection at a restaurant.
Knowing the nutritional value in meals can help when making a selection at a restaurant.

On the menu, there is usually a word or two that describes how each food item or meal is prepared. If you want to eat healthier when dining out, look for descriptive words such as steamed or grilled. Foods that are described with words such as fried are those that you should avoid.

Eating out doesn’t have to be an unhealthy decision as long as you use willpower and make wise choices. Delicious food doesn’t have to be bad for you. You could still enjoy all of the benefits of dining out and be satisfied with your choices later on.

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Discussion Comments

fify

You can also have a healthy snack at home before dining out. Or you can have a healthy soup or salad before the actual meal at the restaurant. That way you can eat less food and the unhealthy food won't be as tempting.

ysmina

I actually think that eating healthy and eating out don't really go together. Even at times when I manage to control myself and order something healthy, other people at my table order a huge basket of fries or hamburgers. And I am sitting there wishing I could have some of it.

I think the only way to overcome that feeling and stop stealing your friend's fries is to go to restaurants that don't have those options and to go with people who have the same mindset.

One of my close friends is very health conscious and we really enjoy eating at this Vietnamese restaurant together. Their menu is actually quite healthy and I can have a healthy delicious meal without pressure, guilt or regret.

SteamLouis

I ask at restaurants if they could make my meal with little or no oil. You would be surprised to know that quite a few of them agree to do that for you. You can also ask them to leave out ingredients like cheese and mayo. If I can't have them to change the amount of oil, then I order grilled and steamed foods.

Another thing I realized is that when I order vegetarian meals, I always get something healthier. Meals with a lot of meat automatically come with a lot of fat. Red meat itself has so much saturated fat in it. Vegetarian options have more vegetables and fiber.

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    • Balsamic vinegar, which can be used in place of less healthy salad dressings.
      Balsamic vinegar, which can be used in place of less healthy salad dressings.
    • Drinking water instead of soda is just one way to eat healthier when dining out.
      Drinking water instead of soda is just one way to eat healthier when dining out.
    • A restaurant's waitstaff is usually familiar with how specific meals are prepared.
      A restaurant's waitstaff is usually familiar with how specific meals are prepared.
    • Order salad dressing on the side for a healthier dining out option.
      Order salad dressing on the side for a healthier dining out option.
    • Knowing the nutritional value in meals can help when making a selection at a restaurant.
      Knowing the nutritional value in meals can help when making a selection at a restaurant.
    • A small cheese snack eaten before dining out helps curb cravings that can lead to overeating.
      A small cheese snack eaten before dining out helps curb cravings that can lead to overeating.
    • Sashimi is typically a healthy option when eating out.
      Sashimi is typically a healthy option when eating out.