As many of us return to dining out, it’s time to enjoy the foods we missed. As always it is important to keep good nutrition in mind when ordering.

Tips to Healthy Dining Out

Check out Online Menus. Thanks to online menus, it’s easy to view the choices offered. Some restaurants provide nutrition information. Take advantage of this by looking at the menu before eating out.

Share large portions or eat half and take the other half home.

Ask for a lunch-size portion, if available.

Ask for sauces or dressings on the side.

A Little Cheat is Okay. While eating wisely is crucial to health, it is okay to splurge on a less-than-healthy foods on occasion.

Drink water before and during the meal. Add a lemon or lime slice.

Healthy Suggestions When Dining Out

FoodsBetter SelectionsLimit
Beverage.Request herbal teas, mineral or sparkling water, skim milk, unsweetened fruit juices, and occasional decaffeinated diet drinks.Alcohol; beer, wine, caffeine diet drinks, coffee, or tea, chocolate, cocoa; milkshakes, and soft drinks.
Bread.Request whole grains, biscuits, crackers, lavosh, muffins, or pumpernickel.Glazed cakes; Danish; jelly-filled or salt-covered items; sweet rolls.
Appetizer.Request bouillon, clear broth, or consommé; fresh fruit; fish or meat cocktails; gazpacho; raw or plain vegetables; tomato or vegetable juice; unsweetened fruit juice.Breaded or fried items; canned fruit; dips; oil marinated or sauce-covered items.
Salads.Request fresh fruit, lettuce, tossed or vegetable salad.Canned fruit; salads with dressings already mixed in.
Fats and Salad Dressings.Request no butter or margarine, or little- or no-fat, low-salt, whipped or soft butter or margarine. Use lemon, vinegar, and mustard in salads or request olive oil. Request oil on the side.Regular butter, margarine, or oils; cream sauce; gravy; salads with mixed-in dressings.
Vegetables.Request boiled, raw, steamed, or stewed.Au gratin; cheese or sauce-covered;  creamed, scalloped, fried, or sautéed.
Potatoes and Substitutes.Request baked, boiled, or steamed potatoes; plain pasta or rice.Creamed, Delmonico, escalloped, French-fried, hashed-browned, or mashed potatoes; potato chips and salads.
Meat, Fish, or Poultry.Request meats to be trimmed of fat before it’s baked, boiled, broiled, roasted, or stir-fried.Braised, breaded, fried, gravy covered, sautéed, or stewed.
Eggs.Only occasional use of boiled (hard or soft), plain, poached, scrambled, or low-cholesterol substitutes.Creamed, fried, or oil-cooked omelets.
Desserts.Request fresh fruit, jello, plain angel food, sponge, or unsweetened fruit-filled cake.Layered cakes, canned fruit, custard, ice cream, pastry, pie, puddings, or any sugar-based item.

Contact Family Nutrition Center to schedule an appointment with our Registered Dietitians. Let us help you meet your health and nutrition goals.