Healthy Eating Tips For Dining Out At Restaurants

Restaurant Menu iStockFor working adults, dining out while on business can be a crapshoot. You and your dining partners may be lucky and land at a restaurant offering plenty of healthy, flavorful menu options – not to mention reasonable serving sizes. Or you may end up – following someone’s suggestion – at a spot dishing out unhealthy options and gargantuan portions.

Restaurants aren’t always the healthiest place to eat. Although many restaurants offer healthy alternatives to fan favorites, many may tempt you with fillers like bread and butter, sugary beverages, or all-you-can-eat specials – all things you want to avoid, for starters.

But there are steps you can take. And, with a little planning, you can ensure you make smart choices when dining out.

Below are healthy dining tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, WebMD and the USDA:

  • Think about the other meals you’ll be having that day and “budget” your calories accordingly
  • Ask for dishes to be prepared the way you want them – i.e., have them use olive oil instead of butter – and, remember, the worst thing the staff can say is: “No.”
  • Order steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of fried
  • Steer clear of all-you-can-eat buffets
  • Resign from the “clean your plate club” – when you’ve eaten enough, leave the rest or get it boxed so you can bring it home for tomorrow’s lunch; alternatively, ask your server to box up half of the meal before it’s served to you
  • Ask for salad dressing to be served “on the side” so you can add only as much as you want; or top with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper for an easy, healthy alternative
  • Pick entrees that feature seafood, chicken or lean meat, and avoid fatty meats
  • Ask what kinds of oils foods are prepared with or cooked in; among the most desirable oils are monounsaturated oils, like extra virgin olive oil
  • Plan ahead and look for eateries with a big range of menu items; also, scan online menus so you can make smart choices beforehand

Finally, remember this advice from Chef Parke Ulrich of San Francisco’s highly acclaimed Waterbar: “It is about moderation.”

Bon appétit,

Your Friends at California Olive Ranch