Take-Away Dining Tips

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When eating out, you do have choices. The following tips for eating healthfully in restaurants are based on suggestions from the National Diabetes Education Program:

• Take some time to look over the menu and make a healthy choice.

• If you don’t see what you want on the menu, ask for it anyway. The worst your server can say is no, and it’s possible he’ll say yes.

• Ask your server whether the restaurant has printed nutrition information available for its menu items; chain and fast-food restaurants often do.


• Choose steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of fried or sauteed items to help lower your fat intake.

• Be the first at your table to order so you are not influenced by what others are ordering.

• At fast-food restaurants, order the smallest entrees, sides, and caloric beverages, not the large, “value-size” versions.

• Eat half of your order, then think about how full you feel. If you’re no longer hungry, take the rest with you for a second meal or a snack for later.

• Order salad dressings, gravies, sauces, and spreads on the side, then use sparingly.

• Order a salad for starters and share a main dish with a friend.

• When you crave high-calorie foods such as desserts or high-fat snacks, have a small portion, or share a serving with a friend. Permitting yourself an occasional treat — rather than always denying yourself — can help you stick to your meal plan more of the time.

• Stay away from all-you-can-eat restaurants or buffets where it’s hard to control portion sizes and how much you eat.

Originally Published November 1, 2011

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