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Tips for Healthy Dining Out

Many individuals often assume that dining out is a guarantee that they are going to be eating unhealthy. While true that meals at restaurants may take a little more effort to navigate, when using some mindful eating techniques, one can still enjoy a nutritious meal without going overboard.  

Plan and think ahead: If one knows that they are going out to eat early in the day, try planning the day’s meals accordingly.  For example, maybe trying to pack and bring lunch to work that day instead of dining out for lunch and dinner. It is also important to ensure that one has regular meals and snacks and does not skip meals to prevent being overly hungry by the time the restaurant meal occurs.

Ordering: Look for lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains on the menu. If not part of the entrée, try to look for these options in the appetizer or side item sections. Ask for dressings or condiments on the side if possible. Do not be afraid to ask questions about the menu and what substitutions the restaurant can accommodate. 

Eating: Portion control can be tricky at restaurants as some servings can be under, appropriate or double to even triple a healthy serving size. Strive to have a variety of different food items on one’s plate. Take leftovers home or ask for a to-go box before the meal. Listen to hunger and fullness cues, eat slowly and mindfully. 

7 Tips for Healthy Dining Out.  Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  November 2016.

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