Restaurants, convenience and grocery stores, or fast-food places offer a variety of options when eating out. But larger portions can make it easy to eat or drink too many calories. Larger helpings can also increase your intake of saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. Think about ways to make healthier choices when eating food away from home.
- Consider your drink
Choose water, fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, and other drinks without added sugars to complement your meal.
- Savor a salad
Start your meal with a salad packed with vegetables to help you feel satisfied sooner. Ask for dressing on the side and use a small amount of it.
- Share a main dish
Divide a main entree between family and friends. Ask for small plates for everyone at the table.
- Select from the sides
Order a side dish or an appetizer-sized portion instead of a regular entree. They're usually served on smaller plates and in smaller amounts.
- Pack your snack
Pack fruit, sliced vegetables, low-fat string cheese, or unsalted nuts to eat during road trips or long commutes. No need to stop for other food when these snacks are ready-to-eat.
- Fill your plate with vegetables and fruit
Stir-fries, kabobs, or vegetarian menu items usually have more vegetables. Select fruits as a side dish or dessert.
- Compare the calories, fat, and sodium
Many menus now include nutrition information. Look for items that are lower in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Check with your server if you don't see them on the menu. For more information, check the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) website.
- Pass on the buffet
Have an item from the menu and avoid the "all-you-can-eat" buffet. Steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes have fewer calories than foods that are fried in oil or cooked in butter.
- Get your whole grains
Request 100% whole-wheat breads, rolls, and pasta when choosing sandwiches, burgers, or main dishes.
- Quit the "clean your plate" club
Decide to save some for another meal. Take leftovers home in a container and chill in the refrigerator right away.