Whether it’s fast food, take-out, or a sit-down restaurant, eating out has become part of the American lifestyle. The following tips will help you make wise food choices on the road and away from home.
Take time to look over the menu and make a careful selection.
Choose fried foods only sometimes—go for grilled, broiled, or steamed foods more often.
Order the regular or kid-size portion. Mega-sized servings are probably more then you need.
Make milk or a low-fat shake your beverage for an extra calcium boost.
Try a side salad instead of fries.
Split your order. Share fries or an extra large sandwich with a friend.
Boost the nutrients in all kinds of sandwiches by adding tomato, peppers and other vegetables.
In place of fries or fried onion rings, order corn on the cob, green beans or baked beans, or rice.
A baked potato offers more fiber and fewer calories than fries, just go easy on the sour cream and butter. Top your potato with broccoli, a small amount of cheese or salsa.
At the deli or sub shop, choose lean beef, ham, turkey, or chicken on whole grain bread.
For a lighter meal, order an appetizer for your entrée.
Go easy on condiments, special sauces and dressings on sandwiches and salads. Ask for mustard, catsup, salsa or low-fat spreads and dressings.
Enjoy ethnic foods such as Chinese stir-fry, vegetable-stuffed pita or Mexican burrito. Go easy on the sour cream, cheese and guacamole.
At the salad bar, pile on the dark leafy greens, carrots, peppers and other fresh vegetables. Lighten up on mayonnaise- based salads and high fat toppings.
Restaurant portions too large? Take home half the main course for another meal.
Order salad with dressing on the side so you can control how much is added.
Eat your lower-calorie food first. Soup or salad is a good choice.
Pass up all-you-can-eat specials, buffets and unlimited salad bars if you tend to eat too much.
If you do choose the buffet, fill up on salad and vegetables first. Take no more than two trips and use the small plate which holds less food.
Try a smoothie made with juice, fruit and yogurt for a light lunch or snack.
For dessert, choose fresh fruit or a container of fruit chunks if available. Or, share dessert with a friend.
Load up your pizza with vegetable toppings. If you add meat, make it lean ham, Canadian bacon, chicken or shrimp.
Look for a soft tortilla sandwich wrap. Fillings such as rice mixed with seafood, chicken or grilled vegetables are usually low in fat.
For the fastest breakfast of all, go with dry cereal and milk. Make the cereal whole-grain or bran and you'll get fiber along with B vitamins and complex carbohydrates.
Build a better breakfast sandwich—replace the bacon or sausage with Canadian bacon or ham and order you sandwich on an English muffin, bagel or bun.
Instead of a doughnut, order an English muffin, bagel or a plain soft baked pretzel. Lightly spread the cream cheese or margarine—or just use jam or jelly.
Refrigerate take-out or leftovers if the food won't be eaten right away. Toss foods kept at room temperature for more than two hours.
Be sizewise about muffins, bagels, croissants and biscuits. A jumbo muffin has twice the fat grams and calories as the regular size.
Look for yogurt and fruit for a quick on the run breakfast to start your day.
Tuck portable, nonperishable foods in your purse, briefcase or backpack for on-the-go snacking. For example, crackers and peanut butter, small boxes of cereal, dried fruit, pretzels, or plain popcorn.
Fresh fruit is already packaged to go. Try a variety of seasonal fruits.