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Healthy Eating/Wellness: Eating Healthy When Dining Out (203)

Healthy Eating/Wellness: Eating Healthy When Dining Out (203) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Nutrition


Eating Healthy When Dining Out

Americans are eating out more than ever. It
can be easy to eat more calories,
carbohydrates, and fat than we usually do, as
well as eat foods that are less healthy when
dining out. Try these ideas for healthy
dining out.

Dining Ideas
ξ No matter where you’re eating,
practice eating smaller portions.
Take half the meal home (it can be
helpful to put half into a “to go”
container right away so you are not
tempted). You can also split it with
your friend, or order a healthy
appetizer as a main course.
ξ Pay attention to the descriptions
on the menu. Look out for items
labeled deep-fried, pan-fried, basted,
batter-dipped, breaded, creamy,
crispy, scalloped, Alfredo, au gratin
or in cream sauce. These are often
high in calories, unhealthy fats or
ξ Choose healthy side options.
Insead of fries and onion rings
order a side salad, baked potato, side
of steamed vegetables, or a cup of
broth-based soup. Even if the menu
doesn’t say you can choose a
different side, try asking your server.
ξ Limit the sauces. There are many
hidden calories in mayo, sour cream,
salad dressing and other sauces. Go
easy or remove them all together.
ξ You can eat a little less at noon to
save for a special dinner later, but
don’t skip meals. This can lead to
overeating later in the day. It may
help to eat a small snack, such as an
apple, 30 minutes before your meal
to help be in better control of your
ξ Buffets and all-you-can-eat specials
almost always lead to overeating.
Scan the whole buffet for healthier
options and make choices before
having your plate in your hand.

ξ Go for the regular size. It may
seem like a good “value” but there
are lots of extra calories and fats in
those super-sized portions.

Other Tips
ξ Drink water with your meal. Soda
is a huge source of hidden calories.
One 32-oz Big Gulp with regular
cola packs about 425 calories. One
Big Gulp can quickly gulp up a big
portion of your daily calorie intake.
Try to add a little lemon to your
water or order unsweetened iced tea.
ξ Avoid croissants, biscuits, potpies,
quiches, and pastries. Pick whole-
wheat or whole-grain buns, hard
rolls, bread sticks (if not brushed
with butter), or French bread.
ξ Plan ahead by viewing the menu
(and any nutrition information)
online and make your choices ahead
of time so you are not tempted when
you look at the menu.
ξ You can special order. Many menu
items would be healthy if it weren't
for the way they were prepared. Ask
for your vegetables and main dishes
to be served without the sauces. Ask
for olive oil and vinegar for your
salads or order the dressing "on the
side" and spoon only a small amount
on at a time. If your food is fried or
cooked in oil or butter, ask to have it
broiled or steamed instead.


ξ Take time to enjoy the meal and
eat mindfully. Pay attention to what
you eat and savor each bite. Chew
your food well and avoid eating on
the run. Being mindful also means
stopping before you are full. It takes
time for our bodies to realize that we
have eaten. Mindful eating relaxes
you, so you digest better, and helps
you feel satisfied.
ξ Don’t forget to count alcohol
calories as part of your eating. That
mixed drink or 2 to 3 glasses of wine
add to the calories when eating out.
Also, alcohol can be a strong trigger
to make poorer food choices and eat
more than we planned.

What to Order When You’re Eating Out
Better Choice Go Easy On
Fast Food
Fast food is part of our
lives. Be mindful of what
you order and you can end
up with a fairly healthy
ξ Pancakes with sugar free syrup
ξ Yogurt with fruit
ξ Low fat milk
ξ Baked potatoes
ξ Kid size or junior burgers
ξ Grilled chicken (no sauce)
ξ Salad with low fat dressing on
the side
ξ Small fries
ξ Frozen yogurt
ξ Breakfast sandwiches
on biscuits or croissants
ξ Fried chicken or fish
ξ Burgers
ξ Large fries, onion rings
ξ Salad dressings, special
ξ Milkshakes, ice cream

Pizza can be nutritious- it
depends on toppings.
Whole wheat crust and thin
crust are better choices.
ξ Mushrooms, broccoli, onions,
peppers, tomatoes, spinach
ξ Canadian bacon, chicken,
ξ Request that your pizza be
made with half the cheese
ξ Double crust, deep
dish, or stuffed crust
ξ Pepperoni or bacon
ξ Anchovies
ξ Sausage
ξ Extra cheese
Deli sandwiches are
usually enough for two.
Share with a friend or take
half home if you can keep
the other half refrigerated.
Fill out your meal with a
salad or broth-based soup.
ξ Whole grain breads or rolls
ξ Pita bread
ξ Tomato, lettuce, onion,
ξ Mustard
ξ Roast chicken or turkey
ξ Baked or boiled ham
ξ Vegetables
ξ Tuna (with light mayo)
ξ Bagels
ξ Corned beef, Reuben
ξ Salami, bologna,
sausage, pastrami
ξ Panini-type sandwiches
ξ Meatballs
ξ Mayonnaise, oil,


Better Choice Go Easy On
Mexican Food
The basics of Mexican
food-beans, rice, tortillas-
are quite healthy. Watch
out for added fat in cheese,
sour cream, and fried
ξ Salsa
ξ Fajitas
ξ Gazpacho
ξ Black bean soup
ξ Soft tacos, burritos, and
enchiladas made with chicken
ξ Beans and rice
ξ Lettuce and tomatoes
ξ Fish dishes (not fried)
ξ Chimichangas and fried
ξ Refried beans
ξ Crispy enchiladas,
ξ Nachos
ξ Deluxe combination
ξ Fried chips
ξ Guacamole
ξ Sour cream
Based on vegetables and
small portions of meat, Italian
food can be an excellent
low-fat cuisine. Some
restaurants offer whole grain
pasta but it may not be listed
on the menu.
ξ Marinara or marsala sauce
ξ Piccata (lemon-wine sauce)
ξ Garden salads
ξ Minestrone soup
ξ Gnocchi and polenta
ξ Risotto
ξ Chicken cacciatore
ξ Garlic bread
ξ Oil for dipping bread
ξ Antipasto
ξ Alfredo and cream
ξ Carbonara
ξ Salami, prosciutto
Eating a good breakfast,
one that is moderate in
calories and fat, can help
you have more energy and
keep you from overeating
the rest of the day.
ξ Cereal with skim milk
ξ Fresh fruit and string cheese or
peanut butter
ξ English muffin or whole wheat
toast with peanut butter or
low-fat cheese
ξ Poached or scrambled egg (one
or two)
ξ Two egg omelet with veggies
ξ Egg substitutes
ξ Yogurt
ξ Biscuits and gravy
ξ Corned beef hash
ξ Omelets filled with
cheese, sausage, or
ξ Hash browns, breakfast
ξ Muffins, scones,
pastries, coffee cakes
Coffee Houses
Coffee shops have become
a very popular breakfast
option. Keep in mind that
coffee drinks can pack
several hundred calories,
so choose with care.
ξ Espresso
ξ Brewed coffee
ξ Cappuccino (made with soy,
skim, or 1% milk)
ξ Latte (made with soy, skim, or
1% milk)
ξ Drinks sweetened with sugar
free syrups or sugar substitutes
(unsweetened is best)
ξ Drinks made with
whole milk or 2% milk
ξ Drinks made with
flavoring syrups
ξ Drinks topped with
whipped cream
ξ Muffins, scones,
Danish, coffee cake
ξ Cookies, brownies
Salad Bar
Most ladles of salad
dressing are about 1 ounce-
twice the amount of salad
dressing in a serving
ξ Lettuce (the darker, the better)
ξ Any raw vegetable
ξ Oil-based dressings, such as
balsamic vinaigrette
ξ Low fat dressing
ξ Vinegar
ξ Cottage cheese
ξ Garbanzo/kidney beans
ξ Cheeses
ξ Egg yolks
ξ Macaroni/potato salads
ξ Regular dressing
ξ Croutons, bacon pieces
ξ Olives
ξ Nuts and seeds


Better Choice Go Easy On
Vending Machines
Always check the Nutrition
Facts for the serving size.
There may be several
servings in one package.
ξ Nuts, trail mix
ξ Baked chips, Sun Chips
ξ Goldfish snack crackers
ξ Animal crackers
ξ Light popcorn
ξ Diet soda
ξ Protein bar
ξ Candy bars
ξ Pastries
ξ Regular chips
ξ Cookies, sweet rolls
ξ Regular soda
ξ Cheese crackers

You can find the nutrition facts information for many restaurant items online.

Teach Back

What is the most important thing you learned from this handout?

What changes will you make in your diet/lifestyle, based on what you learned today?

If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions please contact UW Health at one of the
phone numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition.

Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s
Hospital (AFCH) can be reached at: (608) 890-5500.

Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) can be reached at: (608) 287-2770.

Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor.
This is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because
each person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team
when using this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 1/2017 University of
Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Clinical Nutrition Services
Department and the Department of Nursing. HF#203