Seven Healthy Choices to Make While Dining Out

If you’re like us, you love dining out at local restaurants! There are so many talented and creative chefs in our community, and LOTS of good food to eat. Luckily, dining out doesn’t have to mean sabotaging a healthy lifestyle. In partnership with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, our Dining Out For Life® Healthy Dining Sponsor, here are seven healthy choices you can make while dining out to ensure that you enjoy your meal and give your body the nutrients it needs!

Drinking water before you go out and while you’re dining can help keep you from overeating.

1. Look at the menu ahead of time so you can show up prepared to order a balanced meal. Restaurants often have nutrition information available online, as well!

2. Don’t go into the meal starving- being hungry makes you more likely to overeat. Drink a glass of water or have a light snack (like some carrots, celery, or a piece of fruit) before you go out.

3. When you order, try to include foods from each food group. Prioritize vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins like chicken and fish. The more natural colors and fresher the food on your plate, the better!

4. Sometimes, restaurant portions are big enough for two or three meals. Ask your server to box half up before you begin eating- now you have two meals for the price of one!

5. If your meal comes with french fries, ask if you can swap them out for a baked potato, sweet potato, side salad, or seasonal veggies. 

sandwich and fries
Swap those fries for a baked potato or some veggies.

6. Eat slowly! It takes 20 minutes for your stomach and brain to communicate when you’ve had enough to eat.


7. Skip sweetened drinks like soda and sweet tea. Try sparking water with a slice of lemon or lime, instead, and drink plenty throughout your meal- it will help you eat slower, so you’re less likely to overeat.

Want more info? Check out these additional healthy eating tips from Anthem »

This post was originally published on April 25, 2017, and updated on April 18, 2018

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Meghan Perkins is Project Angel Heart’s registered dietitian. After a semester studying baking and pastry arts at culinary school, Meghan quickly found her passion for clinical nutrition and transferred to the University of Northern Colorado to earn her bachelor’s degree in dietetics. Meghan has worked in clinical and private practice settings, educating patients about how their food choices impact their health with an emphasis on CKD, diabetes, heart disease, celiac disease, and weight management. In her free time, Meghan enjoys exploring Denver by bike with her husband, trying new coffee and tea shops, hiking in Crested Butte, and relaxing with her dog Barney.