Eating Out and Staying Healthy

August 27, 2013 / Amritha Roser

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Photo credit: fitforlifebootcamp.com

Statistics indicate that the average American adult eats out about four to five times per week.  Meals eaten away from home generally tend to be higher in calories, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol and lower in dietary fiber. Over time this can contribute to excess weight and related health conditions. Follow the strategies below to help you make healthy choices when eating out:

Plan ahead:  Before heading out to eat, check out restaurants’ menus and meal options.  Many restaurants now offer their nutrition information online.   You can also check out HealthyDiningFinder.com. This website offers health professional approved menu choices at more than 60,000 restaurant locations throughout the U.S.  Individuals with smart phones can also check out the app version, yumPower. 

Ask questions:  Ask questions about how dishes are prepared and make special requests, such as substituting steamed vegetables for French fries, for a substantial savings in calories.

Ask for a to-go-container:  Most restaurants serve very large portions.  Ask for a to-go container and save half for another meal before you dig in or share the meal with a friend. 

Skip the extras: Pass on the bread basket, chips and dip or appetizers. 

Drink lots of water: Drinking one or two glasses of water before a meal can help reduce overall calorie intake.  For more tips on eating healthy when eating away from home, please visit the links below:

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/healthy-eating-tips/tips-for-eating-out.html http://www.snac.ucla.edu/documents/HO.RestaurantDining2010.pdf