3 Steps for Better Dining Out

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Americans love dining out. On a typical day, more than 130 million will be foodservice patrons. Sales in 2009 are expected to reach $566 billion at over 945,000 locations.* While home-cooked meals are better for your health and pocketbook, it is clear that many do not have or make that choice. Better restaurant menu labeling laws may be around the corner, but in the mean time here are three things you can do now to minimize the impact of salt and fat-laden food on your diet. Pictured above are snapshots from sites you can research including bk.com, mcdonalds.com, wendys.com and tacobell.com.

1. Know before you go. Look online for nutrition facts.

  • Chicken and fish sandwiches, as well as salads with dressings, are often higher in fat and salt than other menu items.
  • Use www.healthydiningfinder.com to help you find restaurants in your area that offer better meals.

2. Make requests.

  • You can often request baked fish, veggies, and a baked potato without salt and with sauces on the side.
  • A combo of a large low-fat salad and an appetizer is often a good choice when eating out.
  • Avoid fried food because it is high in fat and calories.

3. Use dining as a social experience.

  • Eat a healthful snack before you go out so you are not gorging later.
  • Keep to smaller portions or share larger ones.

*Source: restaurant.org; accessed 08/09.

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