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Healthy Tips for Eating Out

Dining out should be an enjoyable experience, but it doesn't need to be an excuse to go completely off the rails.  These 5 tips will give you the freedom to savor the foods you love without skipping out on your health goals...

1. Make sure there is a protein in your meal.

There is room in any healthy diet for pizza, pasta, french fries, and bread, but that doesn't mean we have to skip over a few of the more nutrient-dense menu options altogether. When we eat a meal consisting primarily of carbs, we send our body on a blood sugar rollercoaster.  Without mixing protein into a carb-heavy meal, it takes our bodies more calories to feel full and satisfied, making it easier to overeat.  So, if pasta and pizza are on the menu for your night out, consider starting with a protein or adding it to your entree. This will leave you feeling more satisfied and less likely to unbutton your pants when you're done eating.

2. Make a compromise with yourself.


As much as we would like to pretend otherwise, dessert, alcohol, and carbs tend to be more calorically dense in comparison to other food and drink choices.  By giving yourself the option to choose 2 out of 3, you are training your brain to tune into what your TRULY want without falling victim to the "all or nothing" approach.  No, you do not have to order a salad as your entree to stay on track with your goals (unless that's what you're in the mood for).  But you also don't need to completely overindulge simply because it's girls night, and it's Friday, and you're at your favorite restaurant, and you had a rough week.  Try to find the balance.

3. Share your meal. 

The saying, "my eyes were bigger than my stomach" usually happens in retrospect, right?  It's not uncommon to be excited about a menu, order more than you can eat, and then end up overeating because you ordered all this food and now it's here and what else are you supposed to do?  In reality, having just a taste or a few bites of something is typically enough to satisfy a craving.  Before you place an order, try thinking about how much food is enough, and how it will make you feel after.  Sharing your meal leaves space for the pasta, the pizza, and everything in between. 

4. Stop eating when you are 70-80% full. 

Let me just start by saying this concept will change your life and how you eat moving forward for the better.  Before you start a meal ask yourself, "How hungry am I?"  When you get halfway through your meal, ask that question again.  Once you feel you are about 70-80% full, it's time to put the fork down and push your plate away.  Ideally, we want to leave a meal feeling satisfied, but not stuffed.

5. Choose your restaurant wisely.

Of course there will always be the uncontrollable occasion when your friend picks the trendy Italian, carb-heavy BYOB.  Or you end up with nachos, wings, and fries from the happy hour menu because that's all they had.  But whenever you can, it's helpful to choose restaurants that generally offer healthier cuisine, or at least have options to make healthier swaps.  Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Japanese, and Mexican restaurants typically offer satisfying and diverse meals that won't leave you feeling like you missed out on the good stuff by sticking to your goals.  For any of my Philly locals, here are a few of my favorite go-to's...

Mediterranean & Middle Eastern:

Apricot Stone (Northern Liberties)

Kanella (Washington Square West)

Suraya (Fishtown)


Umai Umai (Fairmount)

Tuna Bar (Old City)


El Rey (Center City)

Nemi (Port Richmond)

Check out this delicious Mediterranean meal loaded with fiber, protein, and antioxidants

Hoping you all enjoy your next meal out!


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