Dining out in restaurants can pose challenges to eating healthy, so it is important to know how to make smart food choices when eating away from home. Meals made in restaurants tend to higher in fat and contain larger portion sizes compared to homemade meals. However, restaurant meals can be healthy when fat intake and portion sizes are controlled. The key is to know how to order the right types and amounts of food.
The following tips can guide you to making smart restaurant food choices:
- Avoid buffets and fast food restaurants.
- Look for restaurants with healthy options, such as baked, broiled or steamed items, fruits, vegetables and salads.
- Check out the menu and nutrition facts online ahead of time, and make a plan for ordering.
- Ask how foods are prepared and if substitutions are available.
- Order a child-sized portion, or split a meal with someone else.
- Choose foods that are baked, broiled or steamed; avoid fried foods.
- Look for items prepared in a tomato or cocktail sauce or sautéed in broth or wine. Avoid foods cooked in butter, cream or cheese sauce.
- Ask if "lite" mayonnaise, margarine and salad dressing is available.
- Get dressings and sauces on the side.
- Say "no" to appetizers.
- Ask for a to-go box at the start of the meal. Portion out part of the meal for later before beginning to eat.
- Take time eating.
- Drink small sips of water between bits.
- Listen to when your body is full and stop eating.