Strategies for Eating Healthy in a Restaurant

It's Okay to Be "That" Person


Do you ever feel like you're doing great, staying perfectly on protocol, and then a friend utters those dreaded words: "Let's go out to eat!"?

One of the biggest challenges you will face while trying to live a healthy lifestyle is what to do when eating out. Restaurants aren't exactly geared for discipline and portion control, but you can make it work for you!

Here are a few tips to help you stay on program when eating at a restaurant:

  • Don't be afraid to be "that" person

    Make special requests and express your needs. Restaurants are there to serve you, and are increasingly able to honor people with special dietary requests. It may feel a little awkward at first, but don't be afraid to speak up!

  • Choose the restaurant

    If it's possible when dining out with a group, suggest the restaurant you go to. You're much more likely to find a healthy meal at a seafood restaurant than a fried chicken place! Choose a place that you know is going to have options for you.

  • Review the menu

    Before you go, check out the restaurant's menu, and try to decide what you are going to order. Most menus are available on the restaurant's website.

  • Order something that's not on the menu

    If push comes to shove, order something that's not on the menu. Most restaurants are able to accommodate an order for grilled chicken or steak and steamed vegetables, or a salad without croutons, dressings, cheese, etc. Be specific about what you want, and usually they can fulfill your request.

  • Get double veggies

    Instead of the carbs offered as sides (fries, mashed potatoes, rice, etc.), ask for a double portion of vegetables. Get the veggies raw or steamed whenever possible.

With a little creativity and boldness, you can have a great meal out without undoing all of your hard work. It may seem difficult at first, but you will be glad you stayed on track when you step on the scale the next day!