What to Eat When Eating Out


What to do for dinner?  If you are planning on going out to dinner or picking something up on the way home, you will want to make sure that you have healthy food choices.  Choosing healthy foods are getting easier when going out to eat now since many restaurants are adding healthy food options.  Try some of these tips when dining out or picking food up to take home.  These tips won't break the bank and are healthier options, too!

Fast Food Restaurants
  1. Try cutting your trips to fast food restaurants in half!  Eating fast food can add many calories and extra salt quickly and can also end up costing more than a home cooked meal.
  2. Choose a kid's meal.  When you choose the kid's meal, you are cutting the amount of calories compared to what you would get from a combo meal.  This helps with portion control and is usually cheaper too!
  3. Watch the toppings.  The toppings like mayonnaise and "special sauce" can have a lot of calories.  Try getting just ketchup and mustard instead.
  4. Ask about different sides when ordering.  Many fast food restaurants offer healthier options like a side salad or fruit instead of fries.  This will give a nice break to your normal routine and get fruits and veggies in too!
  5. Skip the cheese and bacon. These two items have a lot of fat and calories that you don't need.  Instead, add extra veggies like lettuce and tomato for a healthier option!
  6. Choose "steamed, "grilled" or "broiled" items. Look for these words on the menu and choose these items because they are not fried and often contain less calories and fat.
Restaurant Dining
  1. Order a salad with dressing on the side.  When eating out, try ordering a salad.  Eating a salad will help control your hunger and feel more satisfied sooner.  When you order dressing on the side, you can control the amount you use on your salad.  Use just enough to wet your salad.
  2. Get an appetizer or lunch-sized portion.  Many restaurant meals these days provide huge portion sizes.  This causes us to eat more than we need to at one meal.  When ordering, get an appetizer for your main meal or ask for a lunch-sized portion of your meal to limit the amount of food.
  3. Choose "steamed, "grilled" or "broiled" items.  Look for these words on the menu and choose these items because they are not fried and often contain less calories and fat.  Ask for steamed veggies as a side.
  4. Drink water.  Ordering water to drink not only saves money -- it also helps to save on calories.  Drink a glass of water before you eat your meal.  This will help fill your stomach, so you will be less likely to overeat when the meal comes.
  5. Share with a friend.  When eating out, ask a friend to share your meal with you.  This will help you to save money and sharing is a great way to cut your portion size in half!

What are some of your tips for eating out while still trying to eat healthy?

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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall