Eating at restaurants can be a struggle for anyone trying to maintain their weight or manage certain health conditions. Many meals prepared in dining establishments are high in calories, sugar, salt, and fat. However, if you do want to dine out every now and then, there is a way to mitigate the caloric intake of your meal. Here are some tips for eating healthy when dining out:


Drink Water

Drinking water before and during your meal can help keep you hydrated and prevent you from confusing thirst with hunger. Getting plenty of water in your diet can also help you feel fuller and eat less.

Look Up the Menu

If you have the opportunity, research the menu of the establishment you plan to eat at before leaving the house. Many larger chain restaurants contain nutrition facts of the meals on their website. This can help you plan ahead for the meal that best serves your nutrition needs. Also, some menus contain a “healthy” section, with dishes that are prepared with less oils, fats, and calories.

Ask the Wait Staff

In most cases, you can ask a restaurant to customize a menu item for you for dietary reasons. Ask the waiter how the food is prepared and if the meal can be made with some lower calorie options. These may include not adding salt to the meal, removing sauces or salad dressings, trimming the fat off a meat portion, or adding vegetables as a side instead of French fries or other starches.

Eat Slowly

One of the reasons why many individuals overeat at the dinner table is because they eat too fast. Be sure to eat your food slowly, chewing thoroughly and pausing in between. Eating a small salad before your main meal can help you feel fuller and eat less. Enjoy the company of the people you’re eating with, and take your time to savor the meal. It can take up to twenty minutes before your body realizes that you’re full, so take your time.

Take it Home

Even a high calorie meal can be made better by splitting it in half and taking the other half home. You’ll eat less and save on calories, plus, you’ll have another lower calorie meal ready for you the next day.

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