4 Simple Tips for Eating Healthy at a Restaurant

simple tips for dining out

Staying on plan or making healthy choices at a restaurant doesn’t have to be tough or complicated. Most restaurants can accommodate any specific requests you have, but you can keep it simple with these 4 tips.

simple tips for dining out






Tip #1: When in doubt, go with meat and veggies.

Generally speaking, the healthiest option at any restaurant will involve some protein (beef, chicken, pork, seafood, fish, etc) and vegetables. This could be steak and veggies, a salad with (added) chicken breast, or maybe fish with in-season vegetables.

However, some ways of preparing the protein are better than others. Avoid food that’s described using these terms: “breaded”, “deep-fried”, “battered”, “crispy”, “crunchy”. Instead, look for “grilled”, “steamed”, and “baked”. You always have the right to ask the server how the meat is prepared if it’s unclear.

Tip #2: Ask for Salad Dressing on the Side

Whether the salad is your main meal or you have a side salad always ask for the dressing on the side. Restaurants are notorious for putting way too much dressing on your salad, which can add a couple hundred extra calories to your meal. {1 tablespoon of oil = 100 calories}

When you get your meal, start by adding 1 tablespoon (use a large spoon) of the dressing. Mix and taste. Usually this is sufficient to add some flavor. If you need a bit more taste, add another tablespoon.

Tip #3: Choose between Alcohol or Starch

Drinking alcohol with dinner is very common and in some instances it may seem socially unacceptable not to drink. If you choose to have some alcohol then avoid having any bread/nachos before the meal and any starches, such as rice or potatoes, with your meal.

Often, there will be a starch (potatoes, rice) that comes as the side. Ask to have it swapped out for more/different vegetables.

Tip #4: Save Half Your Meal for Later

Unless you are at an ultra fancy restaurant, portion sizes are very large. Before you even start eating, split your meal in half and ask your server to wrap up one half to go.

Most people (myself included!) will eat all the food in front of us, even after we start to feel full. I’m sure you’ve done the whole picking-at-the-dish thing, even after you tell yourself you’re done. By getting some of it taken away in advance, you avoid this common problem.

That’s it! 4 simple tips that make dining out less stressful. Stick with these suggestions and don’t worry too much about the little details. Enjoy yourself and the good company you are with!

What other tips would you add?

Lydia Di Francesco, Personal Trainer



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Lydia Di Francesco is the Founder of Fit & Healthy 365 and Creator of the 15 Minute Workout Club, an online workout membership site. As a Certified Personal Trainer, Lydia educates clients and the public that healthy living doesn’t need to be complicated. She promotes simple, fun, exercise, self-care, and creating a healthy mindset with a long-term approach to wellness.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.