Making Healthy Choices When Eating at Restaurants

Jun 29, 2018


Welcome to Muir Diablo Occupational Medicine's comprehensive guide on making healthy choices when eating at restaurants. Dining out can be a challenge when trying to maintain a balanced diet, but it doesn't have to be. With the right knowledge and strategies, you can enjoy eating out while still making choices that support your overall health and well-being.

The Importance of Making Healthy Choices

In today's fast-paced world, dining out has become a frequent occurrence for many individuals. However, restaurant meals often tend to be higher in calories, unhealthy fats, sodium, and added sugars compared to homemade meals. These factors can contribute to weight gain, high blood pressure, and other health issues.

By making healthier choices when eating at restaurants, you can:

  • Support your weight management goals
  • Reduce the risk of chronic diseases
  • Improve overall nutrition intake
  • Boost energy levels

Tips for Making Healthy Choices

1. Plan Ahead

Before heading to a restaurant, consider looking up their menu online. This gives you the opportunity to review healthier options and plan your meal in advance. By having a game plan, you are less likely to make impulsive, unhealthy choices.

2. Control Portion Sizes

Restaurants often serve larger portions than what is recommended for a single meal. To avoid overeating, consider sharing a meal with a friend or opting for an appetizer as your main dish. You can also ask for a to-go box at the beginning of the meal and pack up any leftovers to enjoy later.

3. Choose Nutrient-Dense Foods

Look for menu items that are rich in nutrients and lower in calories. Opt for dishes that include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid foods that are deep-fried or heavily processed, as these tend to be higher in unhealthy fats and added sugars.

4. Be Mindful of Beverages

Many restaurant beverages are high in calories and added sugars. Instead of reaching for sugary sodas or alcoholic drinks, choose water, unsweetened tea, or sparkling water with a splash of citrus for a refreshing and healthier option. Limiting your consumption of sugary beverages can significantly reduce your overall calorie intake.

5. Customize Your Order

Don't be afraid to ask for modifications to your meal. Requesting sauces, dressings, or toppings on the side allows you to control the amount you consume. You can also ask for grilled or steamed options instead of fried, and substitute healthier side dishes like steamed vegetables or a side salad instead of fries.

6. Practice Mindful Eating

Eating slowly and mindfully can help you better recognize your body's hunger and fullness cues. Take the time to savor each bite, and pay attention to how you feel throughout the meal. This approach can prevent overeating and allow you to enjoy your meal to the fullest.

7. Maintain Balance

While it's important to make healthier choices when eating out, remember that balance is key. It's okay to indulge in your favorite dessert or treat occasionally. By practicing moderation and making healthier choices most of the time, you can still enjoy the dining experience without compromising your overall health goals.

In Conclusion

Making healthy choices when eating at restaurants is entirely possible, even in today's fast-paced world. By planning ahead, controlling portion sizes, choosing nutrient-dense foods, being mindful of beverages, customizing your order, practicing mindful eating, and maintaining balance, you can enjoy dining out while still prioritizing your health.

At Muir Diablo Occupational Medicine, we understand the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle in all aspects of your life, including when dining out. We hope that this guide has provided you with valuable tips and strategies to make informed decisions when enjoying meals at restaurants. Remember, your health is your greatest asset, and making small changes can lead to significant positive impacts on your overall well-being.

Benjamin Langer
I agree! It's so important to prioritize our well-being when eating out. Thanks for the guide!
Nov 11, 2023
Viola Roth
Thanks for this helpful guide! Making healthier choices while dining out is so important for our well-being.
Nov 8, 2023