Health Advocate Blog

Tips to eat healthier at restaurants

Dining out doesn’t have to be unhealthy. For many people, eating out regularly is a part of life. Eating at restaurants or getting take-out can be a timesaver, work requirement, part of a social gathering, or happen simply for enjoyment. But eating healthy when dining out can be a challenge. There is no control over how the food is prepared, and choices are limited to what the restaurant serves. However, you can eat out while maintaining a balanced diet by making healthier choices. Try these tips to ensure healthy restaurant eating!

Before you go…

  • Choose a restaurant that you know has healthier options. Look for restaurants that offer salads, vegetables and other healthy choices.
  • Don’t go hungry. Going out to eat hungry may result in filling up too quick! But if you are not hungry when you arrive, by the time your order is placed, and food served you may have a healthy appetite.
  • Decide on your entrée before you arrive. Look at the menu online and choose your food before you go to prevent becoming overwhelmed by the options or the influence of others.

While dining…

  • Split an entrée with a friend or family member. Restaurant portions are often oversized!
  • Bring home half your entrée if there is no one to split with.
  • Opt for a salad. Eating a salad prior to your meal can help to reduce the chance of overeating and ensure there are leftovers to take home.
  • Ask your waiter/waitress how things are prepared and make special requests. Restaurants aim to please their patrons and will happily offer information and substitute to your liking.
  • Opt for lower calorie beverages to prevent drinking your calories. Water, unsweetened iced tea, coffee or teas are low calorie options.
  • Ask for dressings and sauces on the sides to dip your food in or use sparingly.
  • Choose a salad, vegetables or fruit rather than the chips or French fries that are served with your entrée.
  • Share an appetizer or dessert. Speak up and opt to share rather than order a whole serving for yourself.


  • Try to not feel guilty if you overindulge. Feelings of guilt can make it challenging to eat healthy the next time you’re out. In time, you will get it right. Remember, small steps add up to big changes!

For Health Advocate Members

If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the wellness coaching component of our Wellness Program, contact your coach for more great healthy eating tips!