Guide to Eating Healthy at Restaurants

In Nutrition by Coach Steve2 Comments

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Healthy Restaurant Guide

Perhaps you’re on a family vacation and decide to stop for dinner.

Maybe you’re at a conference and decide to eat out with other conference goers.

Or perhaps you’re meeting coworkers for happy hour and/or dinner after work.

The situation may change but inevitably you’re going to be faced with the same question: “what am I going to eat?”

Yes teachers, you can eat well when you’re out.

Use these techniques and tips next time you plan to go out to eat and stay on track with your goals.

Three strategies for choosing restaurant meals.

1. When you can, pick a healthy restaurant.

With a little bit of creativity, you can eat well almost anywhere.

To make your life easier, stay away from the worst case scenario: fast food and gas stations. Use these for “emergencies only.”

Instead, try to find restaurants with healthy, organic menu items/ingredients.

If you’re limited in your choices, try to find a place with a salad bar and wait staff. In other words, if you’re ordering from someone behind a counter, it’s probably not a good choice (yes, there are exceptions).

Check out the Healthy Dining Finder website. It suggests the best options to you even at less healthy restaurants like fast food joints.

2. Look for the “Healthy 3.”

Once you’re seated, look through the menu for the “healthy 3”

  1. Veggies and Fruits
  2. Lean protein
  3. High fiber, slow digesting carbs such as beans and whole grains

Skip anything with the words “fried”, “cheesy”, “crispy”, “glazed”, or “secret blend.”

Choose this…

Not this.

Try to add more veggies to your meal to round it out. One golden phrase to ask your server:

“Could I add more veggies to that? I’m willing to pay a little more if need be.”

At most places, this is almost never a problem. Consider the extra cost a “flat tummy tax” 😉

3. Know what you’re ordering. AKA, ask questions.

You can’t always trust the menu. Ingredients change (if they’re even listed!).

A few questions to ask your server:

  • How are the vegetables prepared? Could I get them steamed?
  • Can I get the dressing/sauce/condiment on the side?
  • Is the chicken breaded or grilled?

Yes, it may seem nit picky but these couple questions could mean the difference of hundreds of calories and unwanted effects of too much sodium and/or sugar.

Here’s a tip: ask politely. Use a friendly smile and avoid the food-fascist overtones and you’ll usually get a polite and helpful response.

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Healthy Restaurant Guide

How to “stick to your guns.”

We all have those coworkers, family and friends in our lives that seem like they’re trying to get you off track (the teachers lounge is FILLED with them, right?)

  • Most of the time, they don’t realize they’re doing it.

“You have to try some of these caramel, cheesy, chunky, chocolately nut squares with extra sprinkles! They’re to DIE for!”
“Here, eat the last of this stuffed crust pizza we ordered for lunch. I don’t want it to go to waste…”

  • Other times, they’re downright rude about it.

“Why are you avoiding X food? That’s stupid.”
“Are you on some kind of dumb a** diet? 

  • Whatever the case, don’t let them get to you. My best advice, kill them with kindness.

“No thanks, but thanks so much for the offer!”
“That pizza looks great but I’ll pass this time.”

  • If this solution doesn’t work and your coworker/family/friend continues to nag you, feel free to try a more direct approach:

“Can I ask why it’s so important to you that I eat these foods?”
“Dude. You need to let this go.”

That should either get this person off your case or at least open the discussion up for something more meaningful…

Whatever method you choose, just remember that the only person that can control your actions is you.

You can’t control what your dining partner thinks, does or says. You can only control what you think, do or say.

So even if your dining partners are giving you a hard time, keep it together. Stick to your guns and these tried-and-true habits.

Always remember: You are in charge of what’s important to you! 

Download our FREE
Healthy Restaurant Guide


  1. Author

    Thanks for reading, Katrese! Glad you Enjoyed it 🙂

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