Tips for Eating Healthy While Dining Out
Fall is a busy time of the year. Fall festivals, family and kids activities and more enjoyable cooler weather means you're spending a lot less time at home. By the time we do get home we don’t want to cook. It’d be much easier to get take-out. While take-out, fast food, and eating out all the time is not ideal, sometimes it just has to be done. With some tips from the American Heart Association, dining out can be a little bit healthier.
Choosing a Restaurant
- Avoid all you can eat.
- “You’re more likely to eat more food (calories) than you need”
- Try a little planning.
- If you know the menu well, decide beforehand- help to order foods with less fat
Dining Out Tips
- Don't be shy about making special requests.
- Ask to prepare it with lower fat ingredients, call ahead to see if they can, send food back if it’s not
- Equally important is the portion size.
- Steamed, broiled, baked grilled poached roasted vs fried, au gratin, crispy, escalloped
- Ask it to be prepared with vegetable oil instead of butter
Ordering Your Meal
When choosing a place…
- Think ahead. If you go to this place often, decide what you’re ordering before you show up.
- Call ahead. Can they prepare your food with healthier alternatives? If not, try finding a place that will.
- Skip the frills. Alcoholic beverages, appetizers, and bread are unneeded. Enjoy the meal instead.
- Ask for it on the side. Dressings, butter, and gravies can often be served on the side so you are in control of how much you eat.
- Boil, bake or grill it. This saves calories over having food, like chicken, fried.
- Dodge high-sodium foods. Skip the pickled and smoked food, broth, au jus, soy or teriyaki sauce, as well as, foods heavy in cheese, mayo, and sour cream.
- Check yourself at salad bars. Is your salad heavy on fresh greens and raw veggies or cheese and pasta?
- Indulging in dessert doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure. Options like fresh fruit, angel food cake, and sherbet are great alternatives.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask for smaller portions, healthier alternatives, what the food is prepared in, or if they can make it to-go.
These tips are not all-or-none. Implementing a few, or just one is a start to better, healthier, conscious eating. At the end of the day, making the extra effort to nourish your body, instead of just filling it, will be worthwhile.
About Health and Wellness Coalition
The Health and Wellness Coalition is a community coalition working to promote physical activity and good nutrition for every generation living in the greater Wichita area through people, programs, and policies. Learn more at hwcwichita.org.
“Ordering your meal.” American Heart Association, 15 Mar. 2017, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/DiningOut/Ordering-Your-Meal_UCM_301471_Article.jsp#.W09AmUgvyUl. Accessed 18 July 2018.
“Dining Out Tips by Cuisine.” American Heart Association, 9 Aug. 2016, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/DiningOut/Dining-Out-Tips-by-Cuisine_UCM_308333_Article.jsp#.W09A0kgvyUl. Accessed 18 July 2018.
“Choosing a Restaurant.” American Heart Association, 9 Aug. 2016, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/DiningOut/Choosing-a-Restaurant_UCM_301438_Article.jsp#.W09A3EgvyUl. Accessed 18 July 2018.