Eating Healthy When Eating Out


Very simply, here is a guide I created years ago for a client to help him make healthier food and beverage choices when dining out or ordering in. Hope it proves to be a useful tool for you or someone you know…

General Suggestions

When making food choices try to avoid foods that are fried, cream-based, buttery or covered with heavy sauces/gravies; ask for sauce on the side

 Good words to look for include boiled, broiled, steamed, baked, grilled and sautéed

Limit restaurant offerings (i.e. bread/rolls, chips) to save your appetite for your wholesome meal

 Try to avoid ordering multiple courses (appetizer, soup, salad, entrée and dessert); choose 2-3 courses depending on how hungry you are

Eat slowly and stop eating when full; it is not necessary to finish everything on your plate

 Never hesitate to inquire about a menu item's ingredients or how your food is prepared

 When buying prepared foods, always ask when food was prepared



  • Healthy appetizers generally include shellfish, steamed dumplings, vegetables with humus or other dip, sushi rolls
  • Steer clear of greasy appetizers such as Buffalo wings and potato skins
  • Steer clear of fried appetizers such as mozzarella sticks, tempura, egg rolls and spring rolls


  • Soups with clear and tomato-based broths are healthful; cream can be hidden in many soups so inquire about the ingredients if you are unclear
  • Chowder can be made with either a clear/tomato-based broth or cream base; try to avoid the cream-based chowders. Also, bisques are most commonly cream-based
  • French onion soup, though a clear-based broth, is topped with cheese and bread


  • Use vinaigrettes, oil and vinegar or lemon and olive oil to dress your salad; request that the dressing be put on the side so that you can use it sparingly
  • Try to avoid creamy dressings like Caesar and ranch
  • If the salad is your entrée, try and make it as nutritious as possible by adding lean proteins (chicken, fish, tofu, beans) or high fiber grains (brown rice or quinoa)


  • Choose lean protein (fish or white meat poultry—ideally mindfully raised without hormones or antibiotics) that is broiled, steamed, baked or grilled
  • Avoid entrees with sauces or gravies (or request sauce on the side)

* If ordering sides, stick with steamed or sautéed vegetables, baked potato, rice or other whole grain


  • fruit is always the best choice
  • choose sorbet over ice cream
  • if you must indulge a plain brownie or piece of cake/pie is enough of a splurge; avoid sauces and toppings (chocolate shavings, whipped cream, etc.)


  • water is always your best option
  • finish your meal with tea rather than coffee
  • try to avoid sweet daiquiris and shakes; limit alcohol intake

And, don’t forget to tune in to Stirring the Pot on WPPB 88.3 FM Thursdays at 5:30pm (with an encore Saturdays at 5pm) for FoodHampton and surely check out the Weekly Yum Recipe.

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