7 Ways to Eat Healthier When Eating Out

Who doesn't love eating out? Someone else prepares the food and you don't have to worry about washing the dishes afterwards. However, it's been proven that meals prepared at restaurants are typically higher in calories and have a larger portion size than required. According to Zagat, Americans eat out about 4.5 times a week. Eating out can lead to weight gain because you make choices you typically wouldn't make if you made your meals at home. Below, we decided to share 7 tips to help you eat healthier when dining out.

Photo: Alpha 

Be More Assertive: Just because you are dining out doesn’t mean that you have to subject yourself to exactly the way restaurants prepare their food. Don’t be shy to ask the waiter to substitute your side of fries for vegetables instead or ask for a different kind of salad dressing. Many restaurants are willing to accommodate any special requests you may have. Also, feel free to go ahead and ask how the food was prepared before you order it. Finding out things like what kind of oil the salmon was cooked in would not be found in the menu.  


Research the Restaurant: It’s always the worst feeling when you show up to a restaurant for dinner and look through the menu and can’t find anything you can eat. If you knew beforehand you could have eaten before you left or suggested another restaurant. Looking through the menu before you get there also helps you to harden your resolve on what you're going to order when you get to the restaurant. This way, you don't get tempted when you hear your friends order other meals and you don't have to look at the menu again when you get there to also avoid temptation.


Drink Water and Slow Down: Make sure you drink water throughout your meal. It makes you feel full and slows you down from finishing all the food on your plate. Another way to slow yourself down is to take smaller bites and really chew your food. These two tips trick your brain into feeling full faster.

Photo: Tim Sackton 

Say No to the Bread Basket: Even the most disciplined person would have a hard time refraining from eating from the bread basket. All that delicious warm bread with chilled butter and olive oil on the side? How can you say no? Your best shot at fighting this temptation is by asking your waiter not to bring the bread basket in the first place. This tip will keep you from mindlessly munching on all those carbs while you wait for your food to arrive.


Read Between the Lines: If words such as - creamy, breaded, fried or stuffed are mentioned in the description of a menu item, you should probably steer clear of it. Instead, choose items that are grilled or steamed as those are a more healthier way of preparing meals.


Size Does Matter: Most restaurants serve portion sizes that don't accurately reflect the recommended healthy portion size. Consider sharing an entree with a friend or ask the waiter to box up half of the meal for you to take home before it even makes it to the table. 

Photo: Max Kiesler

Don't Forget Your Drink: Many times we order drinks forgetting that they contain calories and tons of added sugars as well. For example, a piña colada has 378 calories. Opt for a glass of red wine instead which contains 120 calories or better yet, stick to water! 


While these tips will help you make healthier choices when eating out, the healthiest option still is making your food at home!


Tell us, what are ways you try to eat healthier when eating out?

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