5 Eat-Smart Strategies for Dining Out

Keep these healthy eating tips in mind the next time you’re scanning a menu.

  1. Stick to water. Soda, alcohol, juice, and other sweetened beverages all have one thing in common: unwanted calories. When asked what you’d like to drink, your best options are water, unsweetened tea, or low-fat milk.
  2. Take time to look over menus. Almost all restaurants and fast food chains have healthier options, even if they’re not advertised as such. By carefully reading food descriptions and asking questions, you can land on smart choices like grilled chicken or baked fish. You’ll find more tips on navigating restaurant menus here.
  3. Brush up on prep methods.  It’s best to avoid menu items that are batter-fried, pan-fried, buttered, creamed, crispy, or breaded. All of those will have added fat and calories. The same goes for creamy sauces and salad dressings—ask to have those served on the side.
  4. Think in halves. American restaurants are known for serving large portions. Control serving sizes by splitting large sandwiches and entrées with a friend or saving half for another meal at home.
  5. Be strategic at the salad bar. Fill your plate with dark leafy greens, carrots, peppers, and other fresh vegetables, and bypass the mayonnaise-based salads and high-fat toppings.
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