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How to order healthy while going out to eat

We all love going out to eat. Whether it is at a steakhouse, Italian

restaurant, sub shop, pizza shop, or even a Mexican restaurant, we all

look forward to a meal we don't have to cook. Sometimes we are craving

to go out to eat out and hangout with our friends and family, and that

is okay! This shouldn't mean that have to not go in order to achieve

your goals or to have to put your goals on the backburner for success.

As Registered dietitians and nutrition coaches that specialize in weight loss, we LOVE talking about this and teaching you how to navigate it all!

Do you ever wonder how you can still meet your nutritional goals while

going out to eat? We've got you!

Just like when you're eating at home, the key to eating healthy while

eating out is to make sure you have a protein, a color, and a carb on

your plate.

Let’s start with going out to eat at a steakhouse! You are most likely

going to get a steak and some sides. Steak is a great source of

protein and iron! If you aren’t feeling steak, they may also have

chicken as a protein source on their menu. If you're ordering a

steak, try to get a cut that is leaner, like Strip Steak or a Filet to

cut down on saturated fat as well as increase the protein. A common

side at a steakhouse is mashed potatoes. Try swapping this out for a

baked potato! To this you can add your steak, and you can control how

much butter or sour cream you want to put on it or other toppings. To

this, adding another side of vegetables like roasted broccoli or

asparagus is a great option for some color! You can also add this to

your baked potato as well.

Another great way to pick healthier options at restaurants is by

picking food options that have the words boiled, steamed, or roasted

instead of fried. This is a great way to reduce the amount of calories

in your meal since oil is high in fat. This can be applied to

steakhouses, Italian restaurants, and even Mexican restaurants as


Another great way to make your meals while eating out healthier is

getting sauces on the side. For example, at Italian or Mexican

restaurants most meals come with sauce or dressing like salads. Try

asking for this on the side so you can add the amount you want. Most

of the sauces and dressings are high in fat and calories. By

controlling how much you are putting on your food, you can limit how

much you are consuming. You can also look for vegetable based sauces

rather than creamy/rich sauces to aid in lower fat intake.

Next up let’s talk about pizza. We all love pizza but how can we make

it a balanced and healthy meal? First, it is important to remember

that you can have pizza and still meet your nutritional goals. After

you choose the pizza of your liking, try adding a vegetable or two as

a topping and include a protein! Adding vegetables as toppings can

help with decreasing fat and increasing fiber. You can either do these

as toppings or sides! For example, a plain slice with peppers, onions,

and mushrooms with a side of grilled chicken! These extra

toppings/sides will help keep you full and give you a nutritious meal.

Try ordering a salad to pair with it, too!

Next let’s talk about sub shops. We all love a good sub whether it is

from Subway, or Jersey Mikes, etc. They are convenient and delicious.

One great way to make your sub a healthier option is by adding on more

veggies. Try adding onions, pickles, bell peppers, and more! You can

also swap out a higher fat meat like beef for turkey or chicken. Many

sub shops also have different types of bread! Trying out the whole

grain or even multigrain options will give you extra fiber, nutrients,

and keep you fuller for longer.

Finally, portion sizes are also important to look out for. Most

restaurants are giving you more than one serving. It is important to

make sure you are listening to your fullness and hunger cues. You can

always bring whatever you don’t finish home and have it for tomorrow!

This can help reduce the amount of calories you are eating. One way to

help you prevent overeating is you can make an imaginary line at the

halfway mark, stop there and check in with yourself and see how you're

feeling before continuing on

Overall, following the PCC method, looking at the way foods are

prepared, and listening to hunger cues are all great ways to make sure

you are choosing healthier options while out to eat. You can still go

out to eat and have fun while reaching your nutritional goals.


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