Guide to Eating Healthy While Dining Out at Restaurants

In the United States, some families may eat out as frequently as five times a week. This habit has negative health consequences as well as financial drawbacks. Often, people do not make healthy food choices when they eat in restaurants or fast food establishments. As a result, dining out can make it difficult, if not impossible, to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. There are a number of reasons for this, such as portion sizes, which are larger than they have ever been in past generations. For people who want to enjoy restaurant dining but also want to be healthy, eating out means learning to understand which foods are high in calories, fat, and sodium. It also means making the right choices in terms of the types of restaurants that they frequent and the food items that they order from the menu. To help people accomplish this, there are numerous useful tips to eating healthy in dining establishments. These tips teach people how to make the right selection such as choosing lean cuts of meat, selecting skinless chicken breasts over thighs, and baked or grilled items over fried. When eating out, healthy diners shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions. For example, a diner may want to ask what ingredients are used in a specific dish, how it is prepared, and if the chef will prepare it in a healthier manner. Other common and effective tips to eating healthy when dining out include requesting that half of one’s meal immediately be put into a take-out bag, learning to recognize healthy portion sizes, choosing healthy side items such as a green salad with dressing on the side, or choosing fresh fruit versus sugary desserts.

Readers will find a chart of strategies to use for a healthy eating out experience. Beneath the chart further advice is given in more detail such as making half of the plate vegetables or fruit.

Healthy Eating/Healthy Recipes – Vanderbilt University

The advice given on this page is for students at Vanderbilt University, however tips are useful for non-students. It is designed to help people when eating on campus and at restaurants off-campus. Tips are divided into three sections – preparation method, portion size, and variety.

Restaurant Eating Tips

This is an article presented by the American Cancer Society. It provides readers with tips on how to eat out and enjoy food without overeating or consuming too many calories. The article gives advice on different types of restaurants such as fast food, Italian food, etc. Ordering tips and good menu choices are also included in the article.

Eight Tips for Eating Healthily at Restaurants

This is an article that appears in the Best Health magazine online. It is in slide-show format and gives the reader tips on how to make healthy food choices when dining at restaurants.

Nine Ways to Eat Healthy at the Seafood Restaurant

This is an article that appears online on the Men’s Health website. The article, which is in a slide-show format, gives the reader advice on how to order when eating at a seafood restaurant. The focus of the article is to educate the reader on how certain types of seafood on the menu, such as shrimp or crab cakes, may be cooked in a way that makes it unhealthy.

Healthy Eating When Dining Out

A slide-show article on WebMD that gives readers tips to eating healthy at restaurants. The article reviews what to eat, such as good fats and fish, and what to avoid, such as high fat foods and foods that are high in sodium.

Nine Ways to Keep it Healthy When Eating Out

A CNN Health article that gives the readers tips on how to eat when dining out. Tips include boxing up half of the meal and looking for key words that indicate unhealthy choices such as “smothered,” “crispy,” or “creamy.”

How to Eat Healthier When Dining Out

A Good Morning America article that discusses the high calorie and large serving size food items that are available when eating out. Advice is given on how to dine out and make healthy choices. The article reviews knowing when to stop eating, choosing the right sauces, skipping bread, and more.

What to Eat and What to Avoid at a Mexican Restaurant

This is a Reader’s Digest article that gives the reader strategies on what to eat and avoid when dining in Mexican food restaurants. The article provides six strategies.

Canadian Living: How to Eat Healthy When Dining Out

This is a two page article on the Canadian Living website that discusses how to make eating out health y . The article provides ten tips on healthy choices.

The Ultimate Eat-Out Eat-Healthy Guide

Prevention magazine gives forty-two tips on how to make healthy selections at various types of restaurants. The advice given on this page ranges from food served at diners to food served at Middle Eastern restaurants.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Tipsheet: Eating Healthy When Dining Out

This tip sheet is for people who want to dine out but continue to eat healthy. It includes what people should ask when choosing a restaurant, and what they should order from the food selection on the menu.

The Challenge of Healthy Restaurant Eating (PDF)

This is a PDF document on how to eat outside of the home and still eat healthy. The article gives basic tips for eating out and also gives readers more specific tips according to the type of restaurant that they are dining in.

Weekly Challenge: Eat Healthy When Eating Out

This is an article on the Live Well West Virginia website. It provides a bulleted list of tips on how to eat at restaurants and make healthy choices. Tips include what to do before dining out, such as planning ahead and not being overly hungry.

Healthy Eating: Making Healthy Choices When You Eat Out

This Wake Forest Baptist Health article gives readers advice on eating out and maintaining a healthy diet. Readers can discover the what, why, where, and how of eating out.

Healthy & Fit on the Go

This is a PDF document that includes information on eating healthy on the road and at restaurants. The restaurant half of the page includes tips such as ordering first, asking for to-go boxes, ad ordering healthy sides. The “On the road” section of the article gives advice such as bringing water, planning ahead, and avoiding fast food when possible.

This page is a fact sheet that gives families tips on eating at fast food restaurants. The tips help them to order the healthiest items that are available on the menu and how to avoid the foods that are unhealthy.

Oregon Nutrition Education Program: Healthy Eating Links

This page is made up of a list of links about healthy eating. Topics include dietary guidelines, food labels, online nutrition resource centers, and more.

Sargent Choice Links and Resources

On this page the reader is given a list of Nutrition Center Handouts that he or she may click on. The reader is also given a list of nutrition and health links to review.

Nutrition and Weight Management Program

This page is made up of a list of links. The links included are in two sections. The first section is a list of five links to PDF documents on nutrition and healthy dieting. The second set of links are to heart-healthy recipes, cooking tips, and websites that give tips on healthy eating, including eating out.

Toolbox of Wellness Resources

This is a page of wellness links on the State of Rhode Island State Employee Wellness Initiative website. The links that are on the page lead to healthy lifestyle websites that focus on topics such as nutrition, exercise, healthy living, and more.

Health and Healthy Eating

This appears on a page that includes food-related and dining links. This particular section includes links to pages about healthy eating and food safety.

Tips for Eating Healthy When Eating Out

The Department of Public Health in Forsyth County, North Carolina discusses ways to make healthy food choices in restaurants. The page also includes additional links to further information on eating healthy.

Fast Food Salads: Making Smart and Healthy Choices

The Florida Institute of Neuroscience website discusses how to make healthy choices when eating salads. The page gives readers tips on what to look for in a healthy salad and what additions make them less healthy.

U.S. Air Force Fit Family

This page is composed of links to food and nutrition related websites. Additionally, there are also links to family and adult fitness and other health related websites.

Veggie Happy Links

The links that are on this page will take the reader to websites that are vegetarian-related or associated with animal rights. Some of the links are specifically about vegetarian tips for dining out.