Contrary to general opinion, dining out is not the worst when it comes to diets and healthy eating. You can enjoy a meal without affecting your calorie counter.


Eating out doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you have very little control over how the food is prepared or how large the portion is. While it is true that meals eaten out tend to be higher in fat, here’s where you have to take responsibility for your own healthy eating and speak up.

Check the Menu Before Leaving Home

Most restaurants post their menus on their website. Check the menu before you leave home, so you can decide before you ever hit the hostess stand what you’re going to order. Conversely, if you don’t see anything that’s healthy, pick another restaurant.

Be Assertive

Check the ingredients and preparation method of meals with your waiter. Ask to replace different ingredients with healthier options: vegetables instead of chips, skim milk rather than full cream. Ask for a smaller portion of the meat and a larger portion of the salad; for salad instead of coleslaw; baked potato instead of fried as the better and more healthy eating out options.

Eating Out the Smart Way


Think Quality Not Quantity

Look out for smaller portions. For appetizers, order broth-based soups such as minestrone or gazpacho instead of creamy soups or fried finger foods. Choose seafood, chicken, or lean red meat rather than fatty or processed meats; remove all visible fat from any meat.

Do the Fork Dip

What’s the best way to combine salad dressing with salad? Ask for your dressing on the side, in a small bowl. Dip your empty fork into the dressing, then skewer a forkful of salad. You’ll be surprised at how this tastes just right, and how little dressing you’ll use. Plus, your lettuce won’t wilt and drown in a sea of oil.

Eating Out the Smart Way

Order Fish

You can order seafood so many different ways — steamed, baked, broiled, sautéed, blackened, or grilled. Just make sure it’s not fried. Nix any sauces, or ask for them on the side.

Skip Fancy Drinks

Resisting the urge to order alcohol with your meal; it'll cut your calories in half! If you must order an alcoholic drink, forget the margaritas, pina coladas, and other exotic mixed drinks. Opt instead for a glass of wine, a light beer, vodka and tonic or a simple martini.

Most importantly: don’t skip meals during the day just because you know you’re going out later, it will only make you overeat.

See also:

6 Healthy Eating Tips for Weight Loss

Healthy Diet Tips for Long-Term Weight Loss