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Guidelines for eating at restaurants

Americans love eating out. Eating away from home may mean a change in scenery, a chance to celebrate or socialize or to experience new cuisines. Making food choices healthier when going out to eat will require knowing what high-fat or high sugar choices to limit. The following recommendations will help guide you in making healthier food choices as you participate in America’s national past time – Dining Out.

  • Study the menu and ask how your selections will be prepared. Making special requests can help you make healthier selections. A few tips are listed below.
  • Is margarine available instead of butter, to be served with the meal?
  • Can the visible fat on meat be trimmed and the skin removed from poultry prior to cooking?
  • Can butter, gravy, salad dressing or sauces be left off an entree or served on the side?
  • Can dishes be prepared without salt or monosodium glutamate (MSG)? (a concern if you are limiting sodium)
  • Is skim milk available, or at least low fat milk?
  • May I substitute baked potato for french fries? salad for coleslaw?

The following terms can help you choose wisely:

Low Fat:
Broiled-dry , Baked, Roasted , Steamed, Poached, Lemon or Lime juice, Marinara Sauce, Salsa, Picante

Higher Fat:
Buttery, Butter sauce , Sautéed, Basted , Pan Fried, Fried , Braised, stewed ,Cheese sauce , Creamed, Augratin, Cream Sauce, Hollandaise

Higher Sodium:
Smoked , Pickled, Cocktail Sauce , Broth

Additional Tips

  1. Be familiar with your meal plan
  2. Know how much is too much; learn to recognize your portions by measuring when at home
  3. If portion served is too large, share with a dining partner or take the extra home
  4. Avoid “all you can eat” restaurants and buffets. Must of us have difficulty eating sensibly at these. It’s easy to overeat
  5. Don’t skip meals earlier in the day to allow yourself more when you eat out. (this may cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or cause you to overeat if you are too hungry).