- If you know you're going out, check out the menu online so you can make healthy choices ahead of time.
- Eat a few less calories earlier in the day.
- Get some extra exercise on the same day, perhaps a walk before or after you eat out.
- Avoid eating out when you are very hungry. Eat a small healthy snack, such as carrots or a small apple, shortly before going out.
- Salads and other vegetable side dishes
- Foods that are broiled, grilled, steamed, poached, roasted, or baked
- Chicken, turkey, seafood, or lean meats
- Anything creamy, fried, crispy, breaded, battered, or au gratin
- Sauces or soups with lots of butter, cream, or cheese
- Thick or creamy salad dressings
- Most casserole dishes
- Split a meal with someone, or ask for a take-out box and take half of your meal home.
- Order the "lunch size" of an food rather than the "dinner size."
- Order appetizers rather than an entrée.
- Drink water or low-fat milk. Don't waste calories on fluids that have no nutrition.
- Limit how much alcohol you have with meals. Wine is better than frozen drinks or mixed cocktails that have juice in them.
- Skip your dessert, or share it with someone.
- Choose a place that broils or grills hamburgers, fish, and chicken for their sandwiches.
- Order only a sandwich. Avoid ordering the value or combo meal.
- Whether it's a sandwich, milkshake, or French fries, stay away from large sizes.
- Order a salad instead of French fries.
- Pizza is OK, but limit yourself to only one or two slices. Replace some of the cheese with extra sauce. Add a salad to your meal.
- Choose low- fat turkey, chicken, or ham. Other cold cuts tend to have too much fat. If it is salty, it probably has extra fat.
- Replace extra meat and cheese with vegetables, such as peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
- Ask for an open-faced sandwich. Ask for whole-grain bread rather than white bread. You can also choose a wrap instead of bread.
- Replace high calorie condiments like mayonnaise or creamy salad dressings with mustard or a small amount of olive oil and vinegar.
- Most deep fried options are high in calories. Instead, choose dishes that are steamed without added oil or sugar.
- Limit dishes made with sweet and sour, hoisin, or other heavy sauces.
- Choose low-fat dishes that are lightly stir-fried, such as brown rice and Chinese vegetables with seafood, chicken, or bean curd (tofu).
- Some healthy choices include wonton soup, chicken skewer, and moo goo gai pan.
- Select foods that have chickpeas or lentils, vegetables, and sauces made from yogurt.
- Good choices include mulligatawny soup, tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, kebabs, naan bread, and lassi.
- Avoid fried foods, creamy curry sauces, an Indian cream sauce called korma, and foods made with coconut milk (molee) or a clarified butter call ghee.
- Pasta dishes with a red or marinara sauce are healthier than sauces made with cream, butter, or cheese.
- Look for the word primavera, which will not include creamy sauce. Order dishes with seafood, grilled meat, fish, chicken, or vegetables.
- Avoid lasagna, antipasto, alfredo sauce, and garlic bread.
- Watch out for large servings of pasta.
- Choose foods that are not fried and have only a small amount of cheese.
- Good choices include gazpacho, chicken with rice, rice and black beans, soft tortillas, and items that are baked.
- Avoid nachos, chips, and quesadillas.
- Stick with grilled chicken and meats, or a pot roast or meatloaf.
- Stay away from foods -- even vegetables -- that are fried, breaded, au gratin, or creamy. Order a small or medium-sized baked potato with a touch of butter or low-fat sour cream rather than French fries or mashed potatoes.
- Salads are a great idea, but avoid creamy dressings, along with toppings such as cheese or bacon. Ask for your dressing on the side so you can control how much you eat.
- Clear broth soups are usually best. Avoid thicker soups with cream or cheese in them.
- Review the tips above in the section about sandwich restaurants and deli counters.
- Watch out for larger portion sizes.
Eating out is a part of our busy modern lives. Even though you need to be careful, it is possible to go out and enjoy yourself while staying healthy.
If you know how to pick the right foods, and the right amount of foods, you can go to almost any type of restaurant.
Be aware that the portion sizes at many restaurants are very large. Stay away from all-you-can-eat buffets. The temptation for overeating can be hard to resist at these places. Think and plan ahead:
When ordering, don't be afraid to ask to have something cooked in a healthier manner.How many cups of vegetables should most adults eat each day?The correct answer is two and a half to three cups. For the healthiest diet, eat a variety of vegetables every week. Choose vegetables from each subgroup: dark green, red and orange, beans and peas, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables such as mushrooms and bean sprouts. How many cups of fruit should most adults eat each day?The correct answer is B. One cup of a fruit such as diced melon, sliced bananas, or grapes; one cup fruit juice; or one-half cup dried fruit all count as one cup of fruit. For the most nutrients, enjoy a variety of fruit every week. Choose fresh, dried, frozen, and canned fruit. How much of your plate should be fruits and vegetables?The correct answer is one half. According to the USDA’s guidelines for a healthy diet, half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. Another quarter should be protein, such as meat or beans, and the final quarter should have grains, preferably whole grains. Canned fruits and vegetables are not nutritious.The correct answer is false. Canned fruits and vegetables are a good option when you can’t buy fresh. And they’re easy to add to any meal. Look for products that don’t have sauce or added sugar, and choose those that are low in sodium when possible. It’s best to buy fresh fruit and vegetables in season.The correct answer is true. When available, buying fresh fruits and vegetables in season will help you get the most flavor from your produce at the lowest price. Look for fresh fruits and vegetables in your local grocery store or visit your nearest famers market. Fruits and vegetables contain which of the following nutrients?The correct answer is all of the above. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy. And the fiber in fruits and vegetables helps make you feel full faster, so you don’t overeat.Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce your risk of disease.The correct answer is true. Eating a diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables may help lower your risk of some chronic diseases and certain types of cancer. In addition, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help you maintain a healthy weight. Drinking fruit juice is just as nutritious as eating the whole fruit.The correct answer is false. Fruit juice doesn’t contain the fiber that whole fruit does. And because it's concentrated, it's also higher in calories. While it’s fine to get some of your fruit from juice, try to choose whole fruit or fruit slices. Most servings of fruits and vegetables have fewer than 100 calories.The correct answer is true. Their low calorie count makes fruits and vegetables a perfect snack in between meals. Choose an apple for 72 calories, a cup of blueberries for 83 calories, a cup of carrots for 45 calories, or a cup of grapes for an even 100 calories. Dried fruit and fresh fruit have the same amount of calories per cup.The correct answer is false. Dried fruit is more calorie-dense than fresh fruit. For example, a cup of grapes has the same amount of calories as a half cup of raisins. When eating dried fruit, remember that a half-cup counts as a full serving.
Basic Ground Rules for Eating Out
Look for and choose:
Treat yourself only once in a while to:
A few easy tips to keep the calorie count down include:
Avoid fast food restaurants. If you must eat fast food, try these tips to limit calories:
Healthy Eating at All Types of Restaurants
Sandwich restaurants or deli counters allow you to better manage what you eat:
Chinese restaurants offer healthy choices if you're careful:
Mexican or Southwestern restaurants:
Family restaurants and pub food:
- Review date:
- December 11, 2012
- Reviewed by:
- David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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