10 Tips to Eat Healthier When Dining Out

eating healthy dining out

Dining out is fun and a great social outlet. However, it is often difficult to maintain good eating habits if you dine out frequently. Here are a few tips to help you stick to your health goals without having to give up your social life.

1) Read the Menu Before You Go

Most menus are available online. Pick out your food before your go to avoid snap decisions at the table.

2) Have a Healthy Snack Before You Arrive

If you are hungry upon arrival, you may fill up on the bread basket right away. Eat a healthy, high-protein snack before you go out.

3) Check How Food is Cooked and Prepared

Choose clean cooking options over those that are heavy in oils. Look for options that are grilled, steamed, roasted, or poached.

4) Order Your Meal Before Everyone Else

Research shows that people’s eating behaviors can be heavily influenced by others at the table. Choose your meal first. You may even inspire others to choose a healthier option!

5) Slow Down and Chew Thoroughly

Digestion starts in the mouth, so chew your food fully regardless of what you order! Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of chewing when conversation is your priority. Remember to be mindful of how much you chew when dining out.

6) Ask to Make a Healthy Swap

Many restaurants have the option to swap out greasy french fries or potato chips for a vegetable option such as nutrient-dense broccoli or a salad. Ask the server if you can substitute your starch!

7) Go For Tomato Based Sauces Over Creamy Ones

Tomato based sauces will add more vegetables to your diet while cutting out unhealthy fats.

8) Have a Cup of Coffee Instead of Dessert

Skip out on the extra sugar and enjoy a cup of coffee instead.

9) Order Soup or Salad to Start

Depending on where you dine, soup and salad (try to avoid iceberg lettuce) may be some of the healthiest options on the menu. Starting your meal with one or both will allow you to order lighter fare or an appetizer as the main course.

10) Watch Out for Health Claims

Menu options may be labeled gluten-free, vegetarian, or sugar-free. Take a closer look at the meal before ordering. Vegetarian options could be high in wheat, gluten-free options might be high in sugar, and sugar-free options may be high in chemical based artificial sweeteners.

Article adapted from Authority Nutrition.

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