Dining OutTips for Eating Healthy When Dining Out

• As a beverage choice, ask for water or order fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, or other drinks without added sugars.

• Ask for whole-wheat bread for sandwiches.

• In a restaurant, start your meal with a salad packed with veggies, to help control hunger and feel satisfied sooner.

• Ask for salad dressing to be served on the side. Then use only as much as you want.

• Choose main dishes that include vegetables, such as stir fries, kebobs, or pasta with a tomato sauce.

• Order steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sautéed.

• Choose a small” or “medium” portion. This includes main dishes, side dishes, and beverages.

• Order an item from the menu instead heading for the “all-you-can-eat” buffet.

• If main portions at a restaurant are larger than you want, try one of these strategies to keep from overeating:

  • Order an appetizer-sized portion or a side dish instead of an entrée.
  • Share a main dish with a friend.
  • If you can chill the extra food right away, take leftovers home in a “doggy bag.”
  • When your food is delivered, set aside or pack half of it to go immediately.
  • Resign from the “clean your plate club” – when you’ve eaten enough, leave the rest.

• To keep your meal moderate in calories, fat, and sugars:

  • Ask for salad dressing to be served “on the side” so you can add only as much as you want.
  • Order foods that do not have creamy sauces or gravies
  • Add little or no butter to your food.
  • Choose fruits for dessert most often.

• On long commutes or shopping trips, pack some fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables, low-fat string cheese sticks, or a handful of unsalted nuts to help you avoid stopping for sweet or fatty snacks.

From the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion