Dining Out Healthy Tips

 Nutrition Nuggets

 Heart Healthy Tips When Dining Out

 With busy schedules, cooking at home isn’t always an option. Navigating the endless food choices in our environment can make selecting a nutritious meal seem overwhelming. It might take some planning, effort and bit of willpower, but the tips below can you make heart healthy food choices much simpler:

  1.  Go online. Looking up menu options in advance to determine if the restaurant provides a range of healthy options. In addition to posting menus, many restaurants and fast food chains now have nutrition information on their websites as well. 
  2. Make smart swaps. Choose a salad, vegetable-based soup or cooked vegetables as a side dish. Opt for grilled or roasted lean proteins in place of fried or breaded options (like grilled fish instead of fried fish). Swap whole grains instead of refined grains (such as brown rice in place of white rice). Ask for oil and vinegar or a vinaigrette dressing on the side when ordering a salad.
  3. Decline or limit the pre-meal freebies. Resisting warm bread or tortilla chips once they are in front of you is difficult, so politely declining them in advance is an easy solution.
  4. Be drink savvy. Limit alcoholic beverages and sugary drinks. Sparking water with a lime wedge or unflavored iced tea with lemon are some refreshing options without added sugar.
  5. Keep it on the side. Request salad dressings, sauces and gravies be served on the side so you control how much you use. 
  6. Split it in half. Since most portions are enough for two meals, share an entrée or set aside half to take home before you start eating. Consider ordering an appetizer instead of an entrée. 

A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) can help you adopt healthy eating patterns that match your individual needs and personal lifestyle. For more information or to locate an RDN near you visit Eatright.org