Eating Healthy When Dining Out

Dining out can be tricky when you’re trying to eat healthy. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay home. Go ahead and make that reservation – with these tips you can stick to your plan to eat healthy wherever you go.

Before You Eat

  • Check out the restaurant’s menu ahead of time if it’s posted on the Internet. Choose a healthy meal option before you arrive hungry.
  • Ask to be the first at your table to order so that you aren’t tempted to change your meal choice based on others’ decisions.
  • Stay hydrated with water, no- or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, or other drinks without added sugars.


  • Start your meal with a salad packed with vegetables to help control your hunger and feel satisfied sooner.
  • Ask for salad dressing and other sauces to be served on the side so that you can use only the amount you want.
  • Choose a broth-based soup over a cream-based soup for fewer calories.


  • Choose main dishes that include vegetables, such as stir fry, kebobs or pasta with tomato sauce.
  • Order steamed, grilled or boiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sautéed.
  • Order foods that do not have creamy sauces or gravies. Add little to no butter and salt to your food.
  • Choose foods that are not processed or are minimally-processed.
  • Ask for whole-wheat bread for sandwiches.
  • Choose small- or medium-sized portions of main dishes and side dishes.
  • Avoid “all-you-can-eat” buffets.
  • Listen to your body and its hunger signals. When you’ve eaten enough, pack leftovers to take home rather than cleaning your plate.


  • Pass on traditional dessert and opt for a side dish of fruit instead.