12 Quick Dining Out Tips

Watching your weight? Limiting carbs, salt and other ingredients? Don’t be afraid to go out to eat! Every once in a while, it’s OK to splurge, and it’s easy to do so when eating out. But if you eat out several times a week (or especially every day), here are some tips to keep your restaurant meals as healthy as possible to meet your weight loss goals: 

  • Before going out to eat, search for healthy meal choices on www.HealthyDiningFinder.com. Once at the restaurant, you’ll already know which items are dietitian-recommended, so you won’t have to sort through the menu or nutrition charts at the restaurant.
  • Pass on the bread and butter and fried tortilla chips.
  • Drink water or unsweetened tea.
  • If you order soup, order a broth-based soup rather than a cream-based soup.
  • Choose dishes with salsa or marinara as the sauce instead of gravies or cream sauces.
  • Request your salad dressing be served on the side.
  • Seek out deli-style fast food for more control over ingredients (lean meat, no mayo, light on cheese)
  • If the restaurant’s servings are large, order one or two appetizers instead of an entrée.  If you want to get the entrée, split it immediately and doggy bag half your meal for the next day.
  • Trade in the fries for healthier options – a side salad, fruit cup or veggies.
  • Skip dessert and have decaf or tea instead.  If you can’t resist, order something small to be split.
  • Consider ordering a la carte, as your portions are likely to be smaller.

These quick tips can help you control calories, carbs, sodium and more when eating out at restaurants.  
How do you enjoy eating out while still making healthier choices? These are just some of the ideas our dietitians have shared to help you treat yourself well when you eat out.  Find more in our Ask the DietitiansTaste of HealthHealthy Weight Loss and Healthy Kids Meals blogs.