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Tips for Eating Smart When Eating Out


  • Order salad dressings and other sauces on the side. This way, you have control over how much or how little you add.

  • When ordering grilled fish or vegetables, ask that the food either be grilled without butter or oil or prepared ‘light’ with little oil or butter.

  • When ordering pasta dishes, look for tomato-based sauces rather than cream-based sauces. Tomato-based sauces are much lower in fat and calories. In addition, the tomato sauce (or marinara sauce) can count as a vegetable!

  • Drink water, diet soda, or unsweetened tea or coffee instead of regular soda or alcoholic beverages. This will save a lot of calories each day.

  • Share a dessert with a friend. Half the dessert equals half the calories.

  • Share an appetizer. Same rules as above applies.

  • When choosing a soup, keep in mind that cream-based soups are higher in fat and calories than most other soups. Soup can serve as a great appetizer to a meal or as an entrée.  Most soups are low in calories and will fill you up, so you eat less.

  • Order steamed vegetables as a side dish instead of starch.

  • Ask for salsa with a baked potato instead of sour cream, butter, cheese or bacon. Salsa is very low in calories and a healthy alternative with a lot of spice.

  • Stop eating when you are full – listen to the cues your body gives you.

  • Order sandwiches with mustard rather than mayonnaise or ‘special sauce.’ Mustard adds flavor with virtually no calories.

  • Take half of your meal home. The second half can serve as a second meal! (Two meals for the price of one:  What a deal!)

  • If you want to eat less, order two appetizers or an appetizer and a salad as your meal.

  • If you have a choice of side dishes, opt for baked potato or steamed vegetables rather than French fries.  Even if choices are not listed, ask your server to substitute vegetables or baked potato for French fries.

  • Look for items on the menu that are baked, grilled, dry-sautéed, broiled, poached, or steamed.  These cooking techniques use less fat in the food preparation and are generally lower in calories.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for special low-calorie or low-fat preparation of a menu item. The restaurant industry is one of hospitality and customer choice. We aim to please. 

  • Plain bread or yeast rolls are relatively low in fat and calories. It’s the butter and oil you add that increases the fat and calories.

  • Choose entries with fruits and vegetables as key ingredients. Enjoy the flavors they offer.  Fruits and vegetables are a good source of dietary fiber as well as many vitamins and minerals.

  • Choose foods made with whole grains.  Examples include whole-wheat bread and dishes made with brown rice.

  • Enjoy foods that are flavored with fresh herbs rather than fats such as oil and butter. Herbs add a unique flavor to any dish!

  • If you are craving dessert, opt for something low-fat like sorbet, fresh berries or fruit.

  • Remember not to deprive yourself of the foods you love.  All foods can fit into a well-balanced diet.

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