How to Make Healthy Food Choices When Eating Out

Last Updated on June 19, 2020 by Diane Hoffmaster

When ordering food at a restaurant, it’s easy to order things that sabotage your health and weight goals. It’s important to learn how to make healthy food choices when eating out.  Follow these easy tips for how to eat healthy at restaurants.

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Eating Out HEALTHY and tips for eating out on a diet

Eating out on a diet

I do not particularly like the word ‘diet’.  To me, it has too many restrictions associated with it.  Too many things I shouldn’t be eating that I really want.

With spring break coming quickly and lots of people traveling, I wanted to share a few tips on how to make healthy food choices when eating out.  I don’t particularly like denying myself tasty treats now and then so I try hard to live healthy on a NON diet. 

Large servings of the healthy things and smaller nibbles of the more decadent foods is my general guideline for healthy eating.  I love going out to eat and on my NON diet, I can still do that without feeling horribly guilty about all the excess calories.  

How to Make Healthy Food Choices When Eating Out

How to Make Healthy Food Choices When Eating Out

There are a number of ways to minimize the impact a restaurant meal has on your diet and hopefully these healthy eating tips will come in handy on your next date night. 

Choose an appetizer instead of an entree 

I find that many entrees are much too large for one person. Instead, choose an appetizer and a side salad as your meal.  And, no, you don’t have to order the fried cheese sticks.  That probably isn’t a smart choice for a meal.

Salad with dressing on the side

Ask for you dressing on the side 

Many restaurants add WAY too much salad dressing to their salads.  Ask for yours on the side so your lettuce is not drowning in oil and vinegar.

Ask for a take out box immediately

When your meal arrives, put half of it in the take out box.  That way you won’t be tempted to keep eating even when you are already getting full.

The best healthy food choices are not fried

If you are perusing the chicken entrees, go with something that is sauteed, grilled, or broiled and skip the options that are battered and fried. You will cut an amazing amount of calories while still enjoying a delicious meal.

How to Make Healthy Food Choices When Eating Out

Choose a salad as a meal: 

You might think that a salad could never be filling enough to be an actual meal but many of them are.  A lot of salads at restaurants now offer things like hard boiled eggs, beans,  and grilled chicken to provide appetite satisfying protein without a ton of fat and calories.

Ordering a salad as an entree will definitely leave you feeling full and you can splurge on a dessert or appetizer to share with your dinner companion.

Stick to water for a drink:

Cocktails and other high calorie drinks will derail your diet quickly.  Stick to water to keep the calories low.  While diet sodas may have zero calories, they aren’t great for your health.  As an occasional treat, I love a good Diet Coke but if you are heating out regularly, choose water instead.  You can also look for low calorie cocktails if there are any available. 

close up of hand holding parfait in a plastic cup

Like these tips on how to make healthy food choices when eating out? Read these tips too:

  • Grocery Shopping Tips for Healthy Eating Hopefully, these grocery shopping tips for healthy eating will help you make smart food choices next time you grab your cart.  
  • Meal Planning Makes Eating Healthy Easier: Planning healthy meals usually requires cooking from scratch with fresh, wholesome ingredients.  Here are some tips to make it easier. 
  • Easy Ways to Start Eating Healthy Even if You Are Short on Time:  If you are concerned with healthy eating, I am sharing some information here that may make it easier.

Don’t Let Vacation Eating Derail Your Health! 

I hope these tips on how to make healthy food choices when eating out have been helpful.  On vacations, eating out at restaurants is sometimes the only way to eat but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to eat healthy.   Just make a few smarter choices when you order and you can still enjoy a restaurant meal occasionally! Do you have any other healthy eating tips for restaurants? Check out the FDA.gov site for more information on calories on restaurant menus. 

Diane Signature

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