Healthy Eating Out Options – How to Plan Ahead

  • Usman 

Skipping the restaurant food altogether is generally an option that is easier for most of the people, but many people looking to lose weight want to keep eating out.

And for some this is unavoidable. For example, someone who travels a lot for work will almost always have to deal with restaurant meals. For these people, healthy eating out options are the only way to keep trying for healthy food without blowing their diet.

It is not mandatory to avoid restaurants completely if you could plan ahead for meals that you would eat when eating out.


It is primarily about making a good decision about food choices and you can still enjoy a healthy mean when eating out. Here are some easy steps that will aid you in picking healthy eating out options:

Read online menus before you go

Read the menus before you actually leave for the restaurant. Almost every worthwhile restaurant now has its menu available online. Many restaurants also give the calorie counts of their meals in their online menus.

In case it is not available online, you could always ask the restaurant to send you the menu through one of the messaging apps. By having a good look at the menu beforehand, you could choose healthy options even before going for eating out.

Grilled over fried

Pick grilled options. By staying away from fried dishes, you would cut hundreds of calories and also stick closer to your diet plan.

Healthy side orders

Look for steam vegetables as side orders. These are one of the best healthy eating out options that keep you right on track of your diet program.

Watch out for unhealthy salads

Salads may be tricky. Most people believe that salads have to be healthy. That’s why they order salads but restaurant salads may sometimes be far from being a healthy option when eating out. Most salads at restaurants are loaded with hidden calories, courtesy diverse cheeses, dressings, croutons and host of other extras.

Look out for healthier sub menu

Look if there is a sub menu with healthier options. Taking note from customers’ interest in healthy foods when eating out, most restaurants denote lighter versions or healthier items on their menu.

Create your own plate

Exercise à la carte option. If you can not find something healthy as a menu item, pick healthier items from the menu and create your own plate.

Keep a list

Keep a ready-made list of healthier options at restaurants. This will save you the trouble of searching from ground zero again because you would already be having your go-to healthy meals at your choice restaurants.

Eat lighter at rest of the meals

Choose to eat lighter meals during rest of the day if you know you would overindulge at your favorite restaurant at lunch or dinner.

Fish is a safe option

One sure healthy choice when dining out is fish. Therefore, look for salmon or tuna on the menu because they have healthy omega-3 fats which are good for your health.

Stay away from added cheese

Stay away from fried foods and added cheese because restaurant meals have abundance of these but these can increase your calories apart from raising your cholesterol levels.

Avoid high sodium meals

Most restaurant foods use high amounts of sodium for enhancing flavor and taste. But salt makes your body store water and it can also be unhealthy for your heart. Some high salt items to avoid are foods that are smoked, picked, made in broth or au jus. Similarly, foods that are prepared with soy, teriyaki or cocktail sauce are also likely to have been flooded with salt.

No french fries

Stay away from French fries as side dish. Pick skinless broiled chicken over fried chicken. And if you would top off your meal with a coffee, ask for coffee that has low-fat milk in place of cream.

In the worst case if you can’t find healthy eating out options at your restaurant, ask the server to not bring fries to your plate. When the fried chicken arrives, peel off its skin. Also skip butter and finish off the meal with tea in place of cream coffee.

Watch the portion size

Restaurant portions have increased in sizer over the decades. Most portion sizes are larger than we need at a meal. And larger portions mean more calories, fats and carbs. If you see that portion size is large, ask the server to pack half or one third of the portion for taking home and only then start eating.

Eating out at restaurants when dieting can become a little challenging. However, by choosing healthy eating out options, you can still keep enjoying the convenience of eating out by having your food already prepared and still sticking to your diet plan. It is especially true for many people for whom dining out is a necessity.

Eating out doesn’t have to mean abandonment of your diet. There is no apparent reason why it can not be a healthy eating out.


Muhammad Usman

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