Eating Out



By Sandra Blackie

Many of us believe that, if you want to follow a clean and healthy meal plan, going out to eat is not an option. Actually, this is not entirely true. You can go out to restaurants, eat at fast food establishments (on occasion), enjoy food with your partner, family or friends, and even go to parties or other social events!

Healthy meals are served almost anywhere. However, it is important to keep a few general guidelines in mind when you eat away from home.

Eat foods that you can see in nature. Potatoes grow in the ground and apples grow on trees but there is no such thing as a bagel bush or a pasta plant! Commercially prepared foods should be eaten in moderation.
Ask for your foods to be prepared without gravies, sauces, oils or butter. Ask the server to put dressings and sauces on the side.
Use the “2/3 plate rule” whenever possible. 1/3 of the plate should be covered with protein (chicken breast, fish, lean red meat), and the other 2/3 of the plate should be carbohydrates (1/3 starch/grain and the other 1/3 fruit/vegetable).
Eat slowly until you are comfortably satiated, not stuffed.
If the restaurant does not serve a “perfectly healthy plate”, eat a small amount to tide you over until you can get back on track with healthier choices. Avoid going longer than 4 hours without food. It is a set up for over-eating and making poor food choices.
Most of the restaurants that I’ve eaten at will accommodate most of these “healthy meal guidelines.
Breakfast Restaurants…

1. Order egg white omelettes instead of whole egg omelettes. Stuff with vegetables and ask that it be prepared with a minimal amount of oil.

2. Order whole grain cereals with skim milk on the side.

3. Most restaurants will give you slices of tomato or a fruit to replace slices of bread or fried hash browns.

Mexican Restaurants…

1. Choose corn tortillas instead of the flour ones.

2. Avoid the sour cream and cheese. Minimize the guacamole.

3. Many Mexican restaurants have a low-fat menu (i.e. Rubio’s, Mucho Gusto, La Salsa).

4. Many serve platters that include a choice of chicken, lean red meat or fish with fat-free beans and rice.

5. Condiments are high in flavor. Spice up your dish with salsa or jalapenos.


1. Eat before you go to minimize temptation.

2. Healthy snacks that may be served include: raw veggies, corn chips (baked) and salsa, air-popped popcorn, and/or fruits. Enjoy!

3. Instead of alcohol, drink a diet soda or carbonated H2O with lemon. If you enjoy a few co*ktails, minimize your intake by switching off. Have a co*ktail followed by a 0 calorie drink.

Out & About….

1. Even though we should try to eat foods closest to nature, packing meal replacement bars when you are on the road can help us prevent going too long without food. Other “easy to pack” foods include: fruit, raw veggies, cans of tuna, rice cakes and or sandwiches.

2. If you are flying, call the airlines and request a healthy low-fat meal.