By Suzanne Russell-Curtis, RD, CDE
Bulfinch Medical Group
Dining out can be a fun time to relax with family and friends, however when trying to eat healthy the experience can become stressful. Restaurants are recognizing people are trying to eat healthier and will often indicate healthy options and accommodate special requests. However, learning how navigate a menu on your own can make the process a little easier. Here are some quick tips on making healthier choices at a restaurant.
- Broiled, baked, grilled or sautéed
- Au jus (cooked in own juices)
- Fish, Poultry and Lean meats (Sirloin tips, eye of the round and Top round)
- Oil based salad dressing such as Oil and Vinegar
- Steamed vegetables
- Half or appetizer portions
- Fried or crispy foods
- Cream or butter sauces
- Fatty cuts of Beef (New York strip, Porterhouse, Filet Mignon, T-bone and Prime rib)
- Creamy salad dressings and soups**
- Mashed potatoes or loaded baked potatoes
- High fat toppings (cheese, bacon, sour cream)
- Full portions
** Soups are often very high in sodium
Popular restaurant chains now have web sites with nutrition information listed. Check it out and decide on your dish before you go to the restaurant. Once you get there be the first to order – you’ll be less tempted to change your mind.
If you’re headed to a restaurant that brings chips, bread or other goodies before the meal, tell your server you don’t want these tempting treats brought to the table.
Ask for a doggie bag to come at the same time as the meal. Place half of your meal in the box and close it up before you take your first bite. You’ll be less likely to open the box and put the food back on your dish (or eat it out of the box) then if you just cut the meal in half and leave it on your plate.
Have a healthy snack such as raw vegetables and hummus before you go to the restaurant. This will help you avoid over eating.