How to Eat Healthy When Eating Out

Eating out in a restaurant used to be something people did infrequently to celebrate a special event or occasion. Today, however, eating out is a daily occurrence for many. The average restaurant meal is larger in portion size, higher in fat and calories, and has less fiber and nutrition than meals prepared at home. If you eat out frequently, it is important to make the same healthy choices at a restaurant as you do at home.


  1. 1
    Don't arrive at the restaurant starving. Whenever possible, if you're hungry, eat a small amount of some healthy food (vegetables- including cooked/roasted, a fruit, yogurt etc.) at home. Not being hungry when it's time to order at the restaurant helps in making better decisions regarding the type and amount of food.
  2. Image titled Eat Healthy When Eating Out Step 1
    Choose restaurants that offer healthy alternatives. Before making reservations or sitting down at the table, ask the restaurant if they will do the following things:
    • Accommodate requests on cooking instructions and ingredients.
    • Use lean cuts of meat and trim visible fat from poultry or meat.
    • Serve butter, gravy, sauces and dressings on the side so you can add only the amount you need.
    • Offer margarine instead of butter and low fat milk instead of cream.
  3. Image titled Eat Healthy When Eating Out Step 2
    Select foods that are steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, roasted or poached. Avoid cooking methods that use oils and fats, such as frying.
  4. Image titled Eat Healthy When Eating Out Step 3
    Ask for a glass of water or water with lemon juice instead of drinking a high-calorie soft drink or alcoholic beverage with your meal.
  5. Image titled Eat Healthy When Eating Out Step 4
    Eat a large salad with plenty of raw vegetables in it before or with your meal. Be sure to order the dressing on the side and only use as much as needed. Try dipping your fork into the dressing to get a small amount on the tines before spearing the lettuce.
  6. Image titled Eat Healthy When Eating Out Step 5
    Pay attention to portion size. Most restaurant meals have enough food on the plate to serve two people.
    • Split an entrée with your dinner or lunch partner. Half of a restaurant meal along with a salad is probably enough food.
    • Eat half of the portion served to you and then bring the rest home to eat another time.
    • Skip the entrée altogether and just order an appetizer or a bowl of soup and a salad.
  7. Image titled Eat Healthy When Eating Out Step 6
    Remove skin and visible fat from your poultry or meat if it was not removed before serving.
  8. Image titled Eat Healthy When Eating Out Step 7
    Pick wholewheat bread and whole-grain pasta whenever possible.
  9. Image titled Eat Healthy When Eating Out Step 8
    Order fruit or gelatin for a light dessert, or skip dessert altogether.


  • Eat your meal slowly, allowing your stomach to realize it is full before you overeat. Stop eating when you are no longer hungry.
  • Drink a full glass of water before you begin to eat. Sometimes our body confuses thirst with hunger. If you are thirsty, you may think you are hungrier than you actually are. Order a second glass of water to drink with your meal.
  • Cut down the amount of times you eat out each week by packing a healthy lunch and bringing it with you some days. Leftovers from a healthy dinner prepared at home the night before make a convenient lunch the next day.


  • Be careful of the endless bread bowl that some restaurants provide. It is easy to eat too many calories when the bread supply never ends.
  • Avoid buffets and all-you-can-eat specials, which encourage overeating.

Article Info

Categories: Dining Out | Diet & Lifestyle