Make Any Restaurant Meal a Healthy Meal

Eating out can really feel like a mini-vacation - leading us to over indulge or make unhealthy ordering decisions - a side of fries here, a shared dessert there. It's not as easy to eat healthy when you're not in your own kitchen, but you can do it! Here are some pointers on how to dine out with your health and weight in mind: 

  • Know your cuisine triggers. If you know, for example, that Mexican is a trigger for you, try to push for the French bistro when you're making plans, especially in the first three weeks of your diet. Try to take an active role in the restaurant selection. If someone suggests Mexican, you can always say, "I had Mexican yesterday." 
  • Have two fiber crackers and drink eight ounces of water before you go out to curb your appetite.
  • Check the menu ahead of time; pick a couple of smart options in case the menu has changed.
  • Before you arrive, choose your "Angel Carb." This may be in the dish itself, such as a sauce, grains or potatoes, an extra glass of wine or a shared dessert.
  • Skip the bread basket. 
  • Make only one special request of the chef (if any).
  • Take a sip of your drink for a toast and save the rest to enjoy during the appetizer or entree. 
  • Slow down. Put your fork and knife down at least three times, have your water glass filled up three times and be the talker.
  • Choose grilled, roasted or baked foods.
  • The perfect finish to your meal is peppermint tea. It gives you a nice minty taste which helps put a stop to picking and tasting any other desserts on the table, and it gives you something to do with your hands.
  • Your kitchen is closed! The food and wine and relaxing experience of dining out can soften your resolve and tempt you into saving your dessert for home. You can imagine why this is a very bad idea. When you get home after a dinner out, there's no kitchen reentry except perhaps for a mug of tea. 

Wouldn't it be nice to have an nutrition-angel on your shoulder suggesting exactly what you should choose from any menu? Download my full dine out guide for free, complete with ordering recommendations for specific cuisines, so you'll never be stuck indecisively staring at a menu again.

Heather Bauer

Heather Bauer is a nationally recognized nutrition expert, author, and entrepreneur.

She brings her fresh and inspiring approach to diet to prime time spots on Good Morning America, CNN, CBS, The Talk, Access Hollywood Live and The Tyra Banks Show. And she's featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and People Magazine. 

Heather is the author of two best-selling nutrition and diet books, The Wall Street Diet and Bread is the Devil, and has regular columns on The Huffington Post and USNews where she writes about the latest trends.

She is the founder of Bestowed, the leading product discovery platform for health-conscious consumers, and has an active nutrition counseling practice in NYC, which she founded in 2001.

Heather is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a New York State Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist (CDN). She graduated from The University of Wisconsin with honors and is a member of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the New York State Dietetic Association (NYSDA).