Tips to Eat Out Healthfully

Health, Home & Family
on October 27, 2002

Going out for a meal is one of America's favorite pastimes, and the following tips will help you do it in a healthful way.

  • Select a restaurant that meets your dietary needs. Call ahead and ask, if you're not sure.
  • Request low-fat recommendations from the server or chef. Many menus now indicate if an entree is low-fat.
  • Ask how items are prepared (deep-fried in vegetable fat, for example, if you're a vegetarian).
  • Focus on the whole experience—the company, service, ambiance, and food. Don't use eating out as an excuse to overeat.
  • Choose a salad, fruit, rice, or baked potato for side items.
  • If you can't eat it all, don't try. Take it home.
  • Avoid buffets. The temptation to pile it on is too great.
  • Just because it sounds healthy, looks healthy, and tastes healthy, doesn't mean it is. A salad soaked in oily or creamy dressing can be more fattening than a hamburger and French fries.
  • Ask for salad dressings, sauces, and toppings on the side.
  • Drink a big glass of water while scanning the menu to curb your appetite.
  • Order a large side dish with a small entrée, or order two healthful appetizers or first courses and skip the entrée.
  • Put your fork down between bites and chew slowly. Savor it, and stop when you feel full.