Over 50% of our meals are eaten away from home, so we need to know how to navigate the restaurant menu to maximize nutrition and minimize cost.
Tips on Dining Out
- Make a list of restaurants you prefer to eat at because they have healthy choices, are affordable and accommodate your needs (and family needs)
- Ask your favorite restaurants where the promote coupons online and in print, so you can keep them on on hand in the car or in your purse
- Skip the bread & crackers and occupy yourself with games and/or conversation while waiting for food
- Drink a 1/2 glass of water while waiting for your food, to help curb your hunger while waiting for the food to arrive. This hydrates you and reduces the chances of overeating
- Stick to ordering water instead of carbonated, sugary or alcoholic beverages that can add not only extra calories but extra $ to your bill – sometimes as much as 15-20%!
- Remember the 4 color challenge when ordering – choose options with eat least 4 different colors in the offering to increase the variety of nutrients you will consume
- Go family style and order for you and your dining partner (or entire family) so everyone can enjoy a variety of foods including their favorites and sides like fruits and veggies that are often times packed with more nutrition e.g. One kid orders the burger and fries and the other the chicken sandwich and fruit cup. If they share, each get some french fries and fruit. This can also reduce your overall bill by 10-15%
- Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions – you’ll be surprised how accommodating the kitchen will be.
- Ask for the dressings and sauces on the side so you, not the kitchen control how much you eat
- Ask for the take home container when you order your meal, so if you are not very hungry or a large portion arrives, you can set aside a portion of it to eat later before you begin your meal
Leave reusable containers in your car, so you can take home leftovers in them instead of using a Styrofoam contain for 12-24 hours that will say in a landfill for an eternity.