Guide to Eating Out

Eating out can be one of life's greatest pleasures. Make the right choices, ask for what you need, and balance your meals out with healthy meals at home. For people with Diabetes or anyone who just wants to eat healthier, consider these suggestions from the American Diabetes Association:

Table Tips:

  • If you don't know what's in a dish or don't know the serving size, ask.
  • Try to eat the same portion as you would at home. If the serving is larger, put the extra food in a doggie bag BEFORE you start eating, or share some with others.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Ask for fish or meat broiled with no extra butter.
  • Order your baked potato plain, then top it with a teaspoon of diet margarine or vegetables from the salad bar.
  • If you are on a reduced sodium diet, ask that no salt be added to your food.
  • Ask for sauces, gravy, and dressings on the side.
  • Order foods that are not breaded or fried.
  • Read the menu creatively. Order a fruit cup or breakfast melon for an appetizer or dessert.
  • Instead of a dinner entre, combine a salad with a low-fat appetizer.
  • Ask for substitutions. Instead of French fries, ask for a double order of veggies.
  • Ask for low-calorie items, such as salad dressings, even if they aren't on the menu.
  • Limit alcohol, which adds calories but no nutrition. Choose low-calorie or calorie free drinks.

Fast-Food Challenges Defeated:

  • Know that an average fast-food meal runs 685 calories - not too high for a meal, but too high for a snack.
  • Chicken and fish are good choices, but not if they are breaded and deep fried.
  • Watch out for words like jumbo, giant, or deluxe. Larger portions have more calories, fat, cholesterol, and salt. Choose a regular or junior size sandwich.
  • Choose grilled or broiled sandwiches with lean roast beef, turkey or chicken, or lean ham.
  • Order items plain, without toppings, rich sauces or mayonnaise. Add flavor with mustard and crunch with lettuce, tomato, and onion.
  • Skip the croissant. Eat your sandwich on a bun or bread and save calories and fat.
  • Go for the salad bar, but watch out for high-fat dressings, bacon bits, cheeses, croutons, seeds, and macaroni salad.
  • Order tacos, tostadas, bean burritos, and other nonfried items when eating Mexican fast-food.
  • Choose chicken over beef. Pile on extra lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa, but go easy on cheese, sour cream, and guacamole.
  • Pizza can be a good choice. Go for thin crust with vegetable toppings. Meats and extra cheese add calories, fat, and sodium.
  • Be alert for traps: fat-free muffins have extra sugar; skinless fried chicken can have as much fat as regular, and Fast Chinese can be full of fat and sodium.