Eating Out Is Killing You, Here’s How To Do It The Healthy Way

Eating out regularly not only ups the likelihood of weight gain, but it can also increase your risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure… Alexander Gabriel - June 6, 2023

Eating out regularly not only ups the likelihood of weight gain, but it can also increase your risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Making healthier choices while dining out is important. By opting for healthier options, we can reduce our intake of excess calories, unhealthy fats, and added sugars. Making healthier choices allows us to nourish our bodies with essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Eating out is often associated with larger portion sizes, hidden ingredients, and higher sodium content, which can negatively impact our health. By being mindful of our choices, we can better manage our meals. Making healthier choices while dining out sets a positive example for others, encourages healthier food environments, and promotes a culture of wellness.


Don’t Just Randomly Eat Out, Check Reviews

By taking the time to explore and identify restaurants that offer nutritious options, you can plan your meals in advance and ensure that you have access to healthier choices. This proactive approach allows you to find restaurants that prioritize fresh ingredients, whole foods, and balanced menu options. You can look for establishments that offer a variety of salads, grilled or baked proteins, vegetable-based dishes, and whole grain options. Additionally, researching ahead of time gives you the opportunity to read reviews or check ratings, helping you gauge the quality of the food and the overall dining experience.


Skip the Bread Basket at the Restaurant

We know, this one hurts. Skipping the bread at the beginning of a restaurant meal can be a wise choice. Bread is often high in calories and carbohydrates, which can contribute to weight gain and blood sugar spikes. By abstaining from bread, you can save room for healthier options that offer more nutritional value. consuming bread before a meal can dull the appetite, making it more difficult to enjoy the main course and potentially leading to overeating. By avoiding the bread, you can savor the flavors of the main course and make more conscious choices about portion sizes. Lastly, if you have dietary restrictions or are following a specific eating plan, skipping the bread ensures you stay on track with your goals and avoid any potential ingredients that may not align with your needs.

Food and Wine

Choose Grilled Food Over Other Preparations

Pan-fried, fried, crispy, crunchy or sautéed. All of these methods of food preparation tend to include extra calories. By swapping out those options for grilled food, you will be able to easily make healthier dining options. Grilling requires little to no added oil or fats compared to frying or sautéing, reducing the calorie and fat content of the dish. Additionally, grilling allows excess fat to drip off the food, further reducing its fat content. grilling retains more nutrients in the food compared to other cooking methods. High heat from grilling helps preserve vitamins and minerals present in the ingredients, ensuring you receive maximum nutritional value.

Italian Recipes by Giallozafferano

Tomato Based Sauces Are a Healthier Swap for Cream Based Sauces

Tomato-based sauces, such as marinara or tomato puree, are generally lower in calories and fat compared to their cream-based counterparts. Cream-based sauces often contain heavy cream, butter, or cheese, which can significantly increase the calorie and fat content of the dish. By choosing tomato-based sauces, you can enjoy a flavorful option with fewer calories and less saturated fat, making it more conducive to weight management and heart health. Tomato-based sauces are typically rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamins A and C, potassium, and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that has been linked to various health benefits. Cream-based sauces, on the other hand, tend to be lacking in essential nutrients.


Just Say No to All You Can Eat Buffets

All-you-can-eat buffets may seem enticing with their vast variety of food options, but they can be associated with several health concerns. Buffets can lead to consuming excessive amounts of calories, fats, and sugars, contributing to weight gain and increased risk of chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The buffet environment also promotes a “more is better” mentality, making it difficult to practice portion control and mindful eating. The availability of fried, greasy, and heavily processed foods at buffets further increases the intake of unhealthy ingredients and unhealthy cooking methods.

Tasting Table

Drink Plenty of Water Before, During, and After Your Meal

Drinking water before and during a meal has the potential to reduce caloric intake. Water creates a feeling of fullness, which can help decrease appetite and prevent overeating. It is also a calorie-free alternative to sugary beverages, likes juices, teas, and sodas, aiding in reducing calorie consumption. Sipping water throughout the meal slows down eating, allowing the brain to receive fullness signals more effectively. Proper hydration is crucial for weight loss as it helps maintain optimal body function. By incorporating water into mealtime, you can feel satisfied with fewer calories, promoting healthier eating habits and aiding in weight management.

Recipes for Holidays

Request Dressings, Sauces, and Condiments “On the Side”

Requesting dressings, sauces, and condiments on the side at restaurants gives you more control over your healthy eating. Many of these condiments are high in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and sodium, which can lead to weight gain and health issues. By having them on the side, you have better control over portion sizes and can choose healthier alternatives. Customizing your meal according to your taste and dietary preferences becomes easier. It allows you to appreciate the natural flavors of the dish and practice mindful eating. By using condiments sparingly or selectively, you can enhance your dining experience while maintaining a healthier approach to your meal.


Split Your Meal with Friends

Splitting a meal while dining out with a friend can be a beneficial strategy for portion control. Restaurant portions are often larger than what is necessary for a single meal, which leads to overeating. By sharing a meal, you can immediately reduce the portion size and calorie content, making it easier to maintain a balanced diet. This approach allows you to enjoy the flavors and experience of dining out while still being mindful of your food intake. It also provides an opportunity to try different dishes or explore a variety of flavors without overindulging. Splitting a meal not only promotes portion control but also encourages social interaction and shared experiences, making dining out a more enjoyable and health-conscious activity.

Vine Pair

Choose Coffee, Rather than Dessert, for After Dinner

Choosing to have a cup of coffee after a meal instead of indulging in dessert offers several advantages. Coffee provides a satisfying flavor without the added calories and sugars found in desserts, making it a suitable alternative. Moreover, it can aid in digestion, promote bowel movement, and alleviate post-meal discomfort. With its caffeine content, coffee can provide a gentle energy boost and enhance mental alertness. By opting for coffee, you can reduce calorie consumption and better manage your sugar intake, supporting your goals for a balanced lifestyle. However, it’s important to enjoy coffee in moderation and be aware of personal caffeine sensitivities.

Memorial Health Blog

Snack on Something Healthy Before Dinner

By curbing excessive hunger, it helps prevent overeating and encourages mindful choices during the main meal. A healthy snack provides essential nutrients and sustained energy, ensuring you approach the dinner feeling satisfied and nourished. It also helps maintain stable blood sugar levels, reducing cravings and promoting better decision-making. Good choices are fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates, like whole wheat crackers. Ultimately, incorporating a pre-dinner snack sets a positive foundation for your meal, supporting healthier choices, portion control, and overall satisfaction.

Calm Blog

Practice Mindful Eating

Engaging in mindful eating involves fully attending to the experience of eating, such as the taste, texture, and sensations of each bite, as well as the body’s hunger and fullness cues. This practice offers various benefits, including improved portion control by recognizing genuine hunger levels and avoiding overeating. Slowing down and savoring each bite promotes a deeper enjoyment of food, fostering an appreciation for flavors and textures. Mindful eating also helps individuals identify emotional or mindless eating patterns, cultivating a more intentional and conscious approach to food choices. By developing a mindful eating practice, a healthier relationship with food can be fostered, resulting in a more balanced and satisfying eating experience.

Medical News Today

Read the Restaurants Menu Before You Go

By reviewing the menu in advance, you can identify healthier options and plan your meal accordingly. This allows for more thoughtful decision-making, reducing the likelihood of impulsive and potentially less healthy choices. Additionally, researching the menu helps you become aware of ingredients, portion sizes, and potential allergens, enabling you to make informed choices that align with your dietary preferences or restrictions. Being familiar with the menu beforehand can help you avoid feeling rushed or overwhelmed when ordering, allowing you to take your time and select healthier options with confidence. Conducting menu research before dining out empowers us to make informed choices.

Calorie Bee

Eat Soup and Salad Before the Main Course

Starting with a bowl of soup, especially broth-based or vegetable-based varieties, can help increase feelings of fullness and reduce calorie intake during the main course. The high water and fiber content in salads can also contribute to a sense of satiety while providing essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. By filling up on these lighter options, you may consume fewer calories during the main course and be less likely to overeat. Moreover, incorporating soup and salad before meals can promote portion control and make it easier to adhere to a calorie-restricted eating plan. However, it’s important to choose healthy, low-calorie dressings and avoid adding excessive toppings or high-calorie ingredients to ensure the benefits of this approach.

The University of Manchester

Chew Food Slowly and Thoroughly

Chewing food slowly and thoroughly is essential for healthy eating due to multiple reasons. Proper chewing promotes effective digestion and nutrient absorption as it breaks down food into smaller particles. This enables the body to extract nutrients more efficiently. Chewing slowly encourages mindful eating, allowing us to fully appreciate the flavors and textures of our meals. It also helps regulate appetite and portion control by allowing time for the brain to recognize feelings of fullness. Thorough chewing reduces the risk of digestive discomfort and bloating while supporting stable blood sugar levels. Chewing food properly also contributes to dental health by preventing plaque buildup and tooth decay.


Swap Unhealthy Sides for Healthier Options

Opting to swap foods such as fries, onion rings, and rice for healthier alternatives like broccoli, sweet potatoes, or spinach can have a positive impact on diet. Broccoli is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, promoting digestive health and providing a range of nutrients. Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-dense choice, rich in vitamins A and C, fiber, and antioxidants. They offer a healthier source of carbohydrates compared to traditional white rice. Similarly, spinach is an excellent choice as it is low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. By making these substitutions, individuals can increase their intake of vital nutrients while reducing the consumption of refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats.


Order Burgers and Sandwiches without Special Sauces

When aiming for weight loss, ordering sandwiches or burgers without mayonnaise, tartar sauce, or special sauces can be a beneficial strategy. These condiments often contain high amounts of calories, unhealthy fats, and added sugars, which can hinder weight loss efforts. By requesting these sauces to be omitted, you can significantly reduce your calorie intake without sacrificing the taste or enjoyment of their meal. Opting for healthier alternatives like mustard, salsa, or vinegar-based dressings can still add flavor without the excessive calories and fat. This simple modification can support weight loss goals steadily over time.

Verywell Health

Choose Whole Grains Over Refined Grains

Unlike refined grains, such as white flour or white rice, whole grains retain their natural bran and germ, which are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds. Unlike refined grains, such as white flour or white rice, whole grains retain their natural bran and germ, which are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds. The high fiber content of whole grains helps regulate blood sugar levels, aids in digestion, and increases feelings of fullness, which can contribute to weight management. Whole grains also provide a more sustained release of energy compared to refined grains, preventing spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. Additionally, research suggests that a diet rich in whole grains may reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and improve gut health. Including whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, oats, and whole wheat in meals can provide a nutrient-dense and satisfying option.

Restaurant Business Magazine

Skip the Alcoholic Drinks

Alcoholic beverages are often high in calories and low in nutritional value. They provide what is often referred to as “empty calories” as they contribute to calorie intake without offering any significant nutrients. This can impede weight loss or maintenance goals and hinder progress towards a balanced diet. Additionally, alcohol can lower inhibitions and impair judgment, leading to poor food choices and overeating. It can stimulate appetite, causing individuals to consume more calories than they would have without alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption can disrupt proper digestion and nutrient absorption, affecting the body’s ability to extract essential vitamins and minerals from food. Alcohol can dehydrate the body, potentially affecting nutrient balance and overall health. Given these factors, it is advisable to consume alcohol in moderation and be mindful of its potential impact on healthy eating goals.

CBS News

Don’t Add Extra Salt

Many restaurant dishes already contain a significant amount of sodium, and adding extra salt only exacerbates the problem. Consuming excessive sodium can lead to water retention, bloating, and increased blood pressure, which may contribute to cardiovascular health issues. By refraining from adding extra salt, you can better manage their sodium intake and promote healthier blood pressure levels. Excessive sodium consumption can dull the palate and mask the natural flavors of foods. By reducing salt intake, you can experience a greater appreciation for the inherent taste of the ingredients and the culinary skills of the chef.

Better Me

Choose Leaner Cuts of Meat

Opting for lean meats over red meat when dining out can be a smart choice . Reducing consumption of high-fat meats can help lower saturated fat intake and promote heart health. Lean meats, such as skinless poultry, fish, or lean cuts of beef or pork, offer comparable protein content but with lower levels of unhealthy fats. This can aid in weight management and reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases. Lean meats are also typically lower in calories, making them a suitable option for those looking to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight. Choosing lean meats can diversify nutrient intake by incorporating different vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids found abundantly in fish.


Eat a Portion of Your Meal at the Restaurant, Bring the Rest Home

Opting to not eat the entirety of a meal and taking some of it home can be a strategy that supports making better food choices. Restaurants often serve large portion sizes, which can lead to overeating. By consciously deciding to leave a portion of the meal uneaten and saving it for later, you can practice portion control and reduce your calorie intake. This approach allows for mindful eating, giving you the opportunity to listen to your body’s cues of hunger and fullness. By choosing to take leftovers home, you can enjoy the remaining portion as a separate meal, incorporating it into a balanced diet plan. This practice promotes a more mindful and intentional approach to eating.

Southern Living

Choose Healthier Fat Options

Avocado and olive oil are considered healthier options due to their beneficial unsaturated fats, which can help improve heart health by reducing LDL cholesterol levels. These oils are rich in monounsaturated fats and contain important nutrients such as vitamin E and antioxidants. Avocado oil has a high smoke point, making it suitable for cooking at higher temperatures, while olive oil is often used as a finishing oil or in dressings. These oils provide a pleasant flavor and can enhance the taste of dishes without overpowering them. Additionally, avocado and olive oil are associated with potential anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. By choosing these healthier oil alternatives, you can make more health-conscious choices when dining out.


Skip Processed Meats

Processed meats, such as sausages, bacon, hot dogs, and deli meats, often undergo various preservation methods, including smoking, curing, or adding chemicals. These processes can result in the formation of harmful compounds such as nitrates, nitrites, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and other health issues. Processed meats are typically high in sodium, saturated fats, and calories, contributing to weight gain, elevated blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease. Choosing fresh, unprocessed meat options like grilled chicken, fish, or lean cuts of beef or pork allows for a healthier dining experience, providing essential nutrients without the added risks associated with processed meats.

I Am Homesteader

Eggs and Cheese Aren’t Always the Healthiest Options Depending on How They’re Prepared

Eggs and cheese can provide valuable nutrients such as protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, it is essential to be mindful of portion sizes and preparation methods. Opting for healthier cooking techniques like poaching or grilling instead of frying can reduce the calorie and fat content of these ingredients. Choosing lower-fat cheese options or requesting a smaller amount can help manage calorie intake. It’s important to consider personal dietary needs and preferences while making informed choices. While skipping meals with eggs and cheese can be an option for those with specific dietary restrictions or preferences, incorporating them in moderation as part of a balanced meal can contribute to a nutritious and enjoyable dining experience.

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