3 Healthy Swaps to Save Money at Restaurants

Instead of ditching dining out, rethink how you do it.

Healthy Food

By Sara Lucero

We’ve heard that eating healthy is more expensive. We’ve heard that eating out should be nixed from your budget. We also know that restrictive approaches like these often fail. Instead of ditching dining out, rethink how you do it for a better diet and budget. Some of the healthiest swaps can also be the most budget-friendly (at home AND eating out at restaurants). Here are three of our favorites:

  • Beans and Legumes Instead of Meat – Research continues to point towards the benefits of a diet rich in plant-based protein. This approach not only minimizes the saturated fat found in meat and poultry but is also a cost-effective approach to eating healthy. Try ordering a whole bean burrito or vegetarian chili in place of meaty alternatives to save on your final bill.
  • Opt for Veggie Appetizers – While skipping the appetizer is your best bet to save calories and money, when you do order an appetizer, stick with a vegetable choice. Common choices like sliders, chicken wings and calamari are often more expensive than veggies and hummus, a starter salad or roasted vegetables.
  • Water is a Winner – Sticking with water is always a good strategy for health and budget-friendly dining. Most of us don’t get enough water throughout the day. Drinking a glass of water before and during your meal has been shown to help reduce the amount that you eat and can help keep you hydrated to prevent false hunger cues caused by becoming dehydrated later in the day. A glass of water, even with a splash of lemon or lime juice, is also much less costly than a glass of wine or a soft drink.

How do you enjoy eating out at restaurants without sacrificing your health or budget?