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10 Ways to Eat Healthier When Dining Out

10 Ways to Eat Healthier When You Go Out to Eat

After weeks of eating healthy at home do you throw those good habits away when eating out?  If so, you’re not alone.  It’s much easier to avoid temptation when it’s not in the home.

But it’s not realistic or fun to eat every single meal at home.  You’ll want to join co-workers for happy hour or dine out with friends or try out that hot new restaurant!

Instead of fighting temptation or trying to eat a small portion change your order to healthier options.  Use these 10 tips to eat healthier in a restaurant.

healthy eating, dining out, restaurant meals, healthy choices, healthy weight, midlife, midlife women

1. More Vegetables.  Restaurants generally don’t have a problem substituting additional vegetables for the potato or rice side dishes.  Just make sure you’re not swapping a plain baked potato for fried anything!

2. Lighter Cooking Methods.  Order your foods steamed, broiled or grilled instead of creamed, pan-fried or scalloped.  Hone in on the preparation description and order accordingly.  Many chefs will prepare your food with less or no added fat when asked.

3. Refuse the Bread Basket. I don’t know about you but the temptation to eat the bread (or chips at a Mexican restaurant) is too great. Instead ask the server to not bring it and skip the stress.

4. Drink Water.  Order water and start sipping right away.  Maybe that hunger is really thirst?  Even if it isn’t you’ll be drinking no calories as opposed to sugary drinks and alcohol which can be a lot of empty calories.

5. Split the Food. Many restaurants offer portion sizes that are too big for most of us.  If you’re dining at one of these either split the entree with a dining companion or put half away in a to go box right away.

6. Eat Before Going Out.  I often have a piece of fruit, low-fat cheese or vegetables an hour or so before we leave for the restaurant.  This way I’m not “starving” when ordering and I’m more likely to make good choices.

7.  Order On the Side.  Order all dressings, sauces and gravies on the side or go without.  You can order your food without these additions or if you want a taste ask for them on the side.  I usually do this with my salad dressing just because a lot of restaurants use too much.

8. Substitute. This doesn’t mean substituting lobster for steak but rather healthier sides or condiments for not so good options.  Use salsa instead of butter on that baked potato or lemon on your fish instead of sauce.

9. Skip the Entree. Make a meal out of a healthy appetizer and a salad.  You’ll eat lighter and for less money.

10. Enjoy the Conversation.  If you’re busy interacting with your dining companions then you’re not stuffing your mouth.  Eating slowly will keep you from getting full before your stomach sends the signal.

These are a just a few of the strategies we use when eating out.  What’s your tip for eating healthy outside your home?

Read more from Kay Lynn Akers on her blog, Weight Chronicles.

Kay Lynn Akers

Kay Lynn Akers is a long-distance grandmother who lives in Southern California with her husband and pets after their five adult child fled the state. Her day job in at a technology company but she never lost interest in writing. After serving as the newspaper editor in high school and a community newspaper journalist in college, Kay Lynn didn't publish again until she found blogging in 2009. Her current blogs are Two Savvy Sisters /(co-founded with one of her sisters) which is a frugal living site and Weight Chronicles which is about wellness and health. Instagram: weightchronicles

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Roz Warren

Tuesday 4th of March 2014

Cappucino instead of cake!

Kay Lynn

Wednesday 5th of March 2014

Roz, that's a great idea. I like to finish the meal with a decaf coffee whether I have dessert or not. It feels like an extra treat but some nonfat milk in it would be even better!

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