Survival Tips for Healthy Eating while Dining Out


Is it possible to eat healthy while dining out? Yes and no. There are some “better” choices that can be made if you just do a bit of homework. Before you head out to eat, check the restaurant’s website for their nutrition stats or their lower-calorie options. You can also visit Healthy Dining Finder to find a list of healthier options.

If your favorite restaurant doesn’t offer nutritional information or you don’t have time to research before you head out, here are a few tips for staying healthy no matter where you eat out.

1. Skip the bread and butter or oil or just ask your server to not bring it.
2. Box up a third to half of your meal before you dig in.
3. Ask how your veggies are prepared: ask for no butter and/or oil.

Grilled Salmon with steamed asparagus, salad and lemon slices
Grilled Salmon with steamed asparagus, salad and lemon slices.

4. Eat a snack before you go such as an apple or a boiled egg so you’re not starving when you arrive.
5. Choose mustard instead of mayo on sandwiches.
6. Skip the cheese on your salad, entrée or sandwich if you can.
7. Ask for your salad dressing on the side and dip your fork in instead of pouring it on your salad.

Ask for your salad dressing on the side
Ask for your salad dressing on the side.

8. Look for entrees that are full of lean protein (chicken, shrimp, turkey, fish) and vegetables. It will fill you up more than a bowl of pasta while saving you calories.
9. Stick with water – skip the soda, tea, lemonade and juice.
10. Look for items that are steamed, broiled, grilled or baked – steer clear of fried, sautéed and breaded.
11. Avoid sauces that sound creamy, buttery, cheesy and sugary. Aim for a tomato or broth based sauce. You can ask for lemon wedges for added flavor.
12. Don’t be afraid to special order by requesting grilled chicken breast with a side of plain green beans and a sweet potato or requesting the salmon without the cream sauce. Just ask nicely!

Salad with grilled chicken breast
Salad with grilled chicken breast.

13. Take it easy on the alcohol. They’re full of empty calories. It’s always harder to turn down dessert when you’ve had a couple of drinks! If you’re going to have a drink, order it after you’ve ordered your entrée.

A glass of Red Wine is your best option
A glass of Red Wine is your best option

Try using some of these tips the next time you’re out for a lunch with work friends or out to dinner!


  1. Kristen, there are so many practical tips in this post! Eating out while trying to stick to a diet can be super tricky, but if you follow these 13 tips you’ll be sure to have a great time and still stay healthy.

    Best wishes, Alex


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