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Dining-Out Success Strategies

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How to make smart food choices when you go out to eat

When you go out to eat, it can be hard to know exactly what’s IN the food you’re eating. Is it made from scratch at the restaurant, or is it processed with preservatives at a factory and heated up locally?


No matter where it’s prepared, study after study shows that restaurant food contains more salt and fat than home-cooked meals … and also hundreds (if not thousands!) more calories.


In fact, one study showed 92 percent of non-chain restaurant meals had more calories than “typical energy requirements for a single eating session” … with many of them racking up between 1,205 to 1,670 calories (even salads).


Studies also show that the restaurant environment encourages people to eat more. One study found that when people ate the same restaurant meal at home, they actually ate LESS of it!


In the United States, new laws require chain restaurants to show calorie information on their menus. But calories can be only part of the story!


Remember: your mindset is your best asset, especially if you eat out regularly. When we eat at a restaurant, we often think of it as a celebration … even if it’s just a regular meal that happens to be eaten away from home.


When you indulge, make sure it’s truly worth it! This guide contains general tips for eating out no matter where you eat.


Success Strategies:


  • Look at the menu online before you leave home and choose what you want to order. Most restaurants post their menus on their websites or social media
  • Find out if the restaurant offers a gluten-free menu. Often, gluten-free options contain fewer grains and more veggies.



  • Eat a light snack (example: an apple and a couple almonds).
  • Drink 8 ounces of water



  • Always order sauce on the side
  • Avoid anything fried or in a cream sauce.
  • Choose a protein with 2 vegetables and a healthy fat (such as avocado)
  • Order your burger with no bun or on a salad.
  • Ask for no added salt.
  • Add extra vegetables.
  • Instead of pasta, potatoes or rice, ask for a double order of mixed vegetables.


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