Tips for Eating Out at Restaurants - Lose the Guilt
I don’t think I know a single person who doesn’t love going out to eat, and who wouldn’t? Restaurants are seen as a luxurious convenience because you know you’ll be able to relax and have a good meal when you're out on the town.
Cooking at home can be stressful and time consuming. Why put up with that if you can just pick a restaurant and enjoy a great meal with good company in an hour or two at the most?
Couples go to restaurants for their nice, cozy and romantic atmosphere—hoping to reconnect over a tasty glass of wine. Families go to restaurants to sit down for family meals. And business professionals order takeout during long workdays because it’s fast and convenient. The point is, everyone loves restaurants—but unfortunately, that doesn’t do much for your weight, restaurant enthusiasts.
In fact, restaurants are part of the reason why you’re noticing that recent spike on the scale.
This is because most restaurants use cooking methods which include using highly processed foods, breading, deep-frying and added fats and sodium.
Use these healthy eating in the restaurant tips the next time you’re out on the town grabbing a bite to eat to make sure you stay fit and healthy.
Everyday Healthy Restaurant Tips
- Avoid before-the-meal “extras” like cocktails, appetizers, bread and butter. These scream extra (unnecessary) calories, fat and sodium.
- Just because you’re eating from a salad bar doesn’t mean it’s ALL good for you. Choose fresh greens, raw vegetables, fresh fruits, garbanzo beans and reduced fat, low fat, light or fat free dressings. Avoid lots of cheese, marinated salads, pasta salads and fruit salads with whipped cream.
- Remember that sauces and creamy dressings may taste good, but will eventually cause you to gain weight.
- Don’t be hesitant to ask your server how a certain entrée was prepared and what ingredients that entree contains. Ask what kinds of oils your food was prepared in. Keep in mind that olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil are all safe bets.
- Remember your portion sizes and ask if smaller portions are available. Regular restaurant portions are often more than enough for two people.
- Ask for healthy substitutions and trade your French fries for a side of broccoli.
Top Casual Dining Picks:
With help from our registered dietician, Sarah, we found the healthiest entrees from chain restaurants across the country and even threw in some healthy restaurant tips as well
Sarah's choice: Oven Roasted Chicken and Swiss Salad
Fat: 13g (a dose of healthy—monounsaturated fat—is very good for you)
- A convenient option at 23,700 locations throughout the country
- Avoid olives, pickles, banana peppers and jalapenos if you’re watching your sodium.
Sarah's choice: Chick-Fil-A Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap
Sodium: 990mg (To decrease the amount of sodium, ask to leave off the cheese)
Fiber: 15g (60% of your daily value)
Sarah's choice: Grilled Chicken Teriyaki
Sarah's choice: Small Chili with Garden Side Salad
Sarah's choice: "Any of these 3 smoothies are perfect healthy meal replacements: Gladiator, Lean1 Vanilla, or High Protein Banana."
High Protein Banana:
Americans are consuming way more calories than they did 30 years ago and large restaurant portions are part of the problem. These are the healthiest selections that we could find, but it’s always a good idea to practice the restaurant tips listed in the beginning of this article to make sure you've made the best choice possible for your body and your health.
Top Picks for casual family restaurants:
Sarah's choice: Be Fit Breakfast
Sarah's choice: Barbecue Grilled Chicken with White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes and Fresh Steamed Broccoli
Sarah's choice: Herb-Grilled Salmon
Fat: 20g (brain-healthy fat)
Sweet Tomatoes (Souplantation in Southern California):
Sarah's choice: Baja Bean and Cilantro Salad
- Produce at Sweet Tomatoes is guaranteed to be “in the ground” 24 hours before it’s in a refrigerated truck on its way to the restaurant.
Being Healthy Starts with Small Changes
Remember that no matter where you are on the weight spectrum, you can be healthy too. Start with small changes. Use our healthy restaurant tips and order smarter, take home leftovers (since their portion sizes are so big!), learn how to cook at home or try a diet delivery program so you don’t have to!
If you’re interested in proven weight loss meals that not only taste delicious, but help you lose weight too—we have a men and a women’s program with the option to receive five-or-seven-days’ worth of healthy meals delivered to your door.
The seven day option comes with the My Night feature, your one night a week to just be you and eat whatever you want.
The two programs range from $130-$160 and EATS, our essential and tasty snacks are just $1.50 per snack. Women receive two snacks per day and men receive three snacks per day.