Healthy Living

10 Tips for Making Healthy Choices While Dining Out

Whether you are dining out or getting takeout, use these tips to make healthy choices.

Here at Season Health, we believe that eating well is all about balance and making informed choices. Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite or enjoying a leisurely meal, these tips will empower you to make healthy choices while dining out.

  1. Plan ahead

Before you go to a restaurant or order takeout, check the restaurant’s website to see if menu information is available. Opt for foods that are baked, grilled, steamed, or roasted over foods that are fried, crispy, or breaded.

  1. Portion control

Restaurant portions are often much larger than what you would eat at home. Consider sharing dishes with friends, or practice portion control by asking for half of the meal to be served to you and the other half to be placed in a to-go container. Two meals for the price of one is an added bonus!

  1. Load up on veggies

Make veggies the star of your meal. Opt for salads, vegetable sides, or even veggie-based main courses for a boost of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Incorporating fiber-rich vegetables can help you feel full for longer periods of time and prevent overeating later on.

  1. Lean proteins

Choose lean protein sources such as grilled chicken, turkey, fish, or legumes. These options are satisfying and lower in saturated fat.

  1. Mindful sides

Swap out fried or breaded sides for steamed or roasted vegetables, and opt for whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa instead of refined grains, such as white rice and white bread.

  1. Dressings and sauces on the side

Condiments can be a sneaky source of excess calories and added sugars. Request dressings and sauces on the side to control how much you consume.

  1. Hydrate wisely

Try water, plain or flavored seltzer, unsweetened iced tea, or low-fat milk. If you want to have a soft drink, order a small or sugar-free drink and limit refills. If you enjoy alcohol, limit to moderate amounts.

  1. Moderation is key

Indulge occasionally but keep portion sizes in check. Don’t deprive yourself of things you enjoy like dessert, but consider sharing it with the table or asking for fresh fruit. Limit filling up on bread, chips, or rolls before your meal, or ask your server to skip the bread, so you can fully enjoy your entree.

  1. Customization

Don't be afraid to ask for modifications. Most restaurants are happy to accommodate your requests!

  1. Listen to your body

Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues. Eat slowly and savor each bite, giving your body time to signal when it's satisfied. Check out our webinars on mindful eating: part I and part II for additional information on mindful eating.