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Tips for Eating Healthy When Eating out

Sticking to healthy eating doesn't mean giving up meals at your favorite restaurant. With these helpful tips from the experts at the USDA, making smart choices while eating out has never been easier.

  • As a beverage choice, ask for water or order fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, or other drinks without added sugars.
  • Ask for whole-wheat bread for sandwiches.
  • In a restaurant, start your meal with a salad packed with veggies, to help control hunger and feel satisfied sooner.
  • Ask for salad dressing to be served on the side. Then use only as much as you want.
  • Choose main dishes that include vegetables, such as stir-fries, kebobs, or pasta with a tomato sauce.
  • Choose a "small" or "medium" portion. This includes main dishes, side dishes, and beverages.
  • If the main portions at a restaurant are larger than you want, try one of these strategies to keep from overeating:
    • Share a main dish with a friend.
    • Resign from the "clean your plate club" - when you've eaten enough, leave the rest.
  • Add little or no butter to your food.
  • Choose fruits for dessert most often.
  • Order foods that do not have creamy sauces or gravies.
  • On long commutes or shopping trips, pack some fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables, low-fat string cheese sticks, or a handful of unsalted nuts to help you avoid stopping for sweet or fatty snacks.
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