Healthy Eating at Restaurants

by Alanna Downey

It can be difficult to keep those New Year’s resolutions when irresistible fast foods and restaurants are everywhere you turn. With an overabundance of options to choose from- starting with appetizers moving onto entrees and finishing with desserts – this can be overwhelming! We are one full month into 2017, and a lot of us have probably fallen off track with those resolutions, but it is never to late to get back to a healthy lifestyle!

Recent studies have shown Americans spend more money eating out than buying groceries to cook meals at home.1 People today are busy and cannot always find the time to prepare all their meals.  During those busy days most people are looking for convenience and easy, so restaurants and fast food chains become appealing.  It can be easy to become lost in the long menus and specials, so here are some tips to help you make healthy decisions at restaurants!

Tips on Eating Out!

  1. Choose a restaurant beforehand and take a look at the menu to narrow down the options. This can eliminate the sensory overload we all experience, and have given into, even if our order was not the healthiest!
  2. If the nutrition information is provided for the menu items, take a look at it. It is not required for all restaurants to provide this information, but gazing at it can help since most of us tend to underestimate the calories, fat, and sodium found in food.1
  3. Ask the wait staff about the size of the portions. It is hard to stop eating, even if you are full, if there is still food on the plate.1 If the portion seems to be large, see if someone in your party is willing to split.
  4. Order the appetizer or salad and then wait to order the rest of the meal. You may be full after this and not need the extra food of an entree, since appetizers can be huge! Plus, ordering more food is no problem at restaurants!
  5. Everyone loves some dessert after a meal! Desserts at restaurants can be rich and heavy, so order dessert for the table to split.2


  1. “Smart strategies for healthy eating out: with Americans spending more than ever at restaurants, here’s how to make sure you don’t pay with your health.” Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter. September 2015. Accessed February 8, 2017.
  2. Yes, it’s possible to dine out and eat a healthful meal. Here’s how. Washington Post. January 12, 2017. Accessed February 7, 2017.



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