10 Tips for Eating Out (No Guilt Included)

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Eatingout 1080X675 1 | 10 Tips For Eating Out (No Guilt Included)

Going out to dinner with friends, family, or your significant other can be stressful, especially when you’re trying to eat healthier.

You feel conflicted whether or not to order the “healthy” menu item or order something that simply sounds good to you when you know it isn’t good for you. A government survey of Americans’ eating habits found the majority of people get less nutrition when they eat out, as opposed to cooking at home. However, we can’t live in bubbles either, and eating out is part of life!

If you ever find yourself in the dilemma of “What to order?!”, here are 10 tips for ordering our at restaurants—that won’t leave you hungry for more and won’t stress you out.

  1. It’s okay to change your order a little bit. You should feel confident in asking for it your way whether it be the dressing on the side, asking for grilled instead of fried or substituting side vegetables for mashed potatoes. More times than none the restaurant will cooperate with you.
  1. Drink water throughout your meal. It’s not only good for digesting your food but it also causing you to feel fuller. Drinking water slows you down when you’re eating and helps you enjoy the food more.
  1. Keep it simple. If everyone is ordering drinks, try and skip out on the fancy drinks like margaritas, pina coladas, or other frozen drinks. Try and order simpler drinks like a glass of wine or a vodka and tonic.
  1. Browse the restaurants menu before you actually go to the restaurant. This will prepare you for what they have to eat and sometimes places will put the nutritional information online for you to look at.
  1. Order a salad before ordering your entree. This gets your greens on and also helps with eating an appropriate amount of your entree when the food comes. Scientists found that those who eat a salad before the main course, eat more mindfully than those who do not opt for a salad before their main meal.
  1. Have your cake and eat it too. Of course you can always have some dark chocolate at home or order some sorbet, you should never completely restrict yourself especially when you’re out to dinner because this should be an enjoyable time. Just try to avoid ordering a large brownie sundae or huge bowl of ice cream with whipped cream.
  1. Order fish. But make sure the fish isn’t fried, you can order fish in many different healthier ways than that like baked, grilled, steamed, etc. And fish is filled with tons of healthy fats to keep you full.
  1. Read the descriptions of items on the menu so you know exactly what you’re ordering. Beware of words like “creamy, breaded, sauced, or stuffed.” Opt for options that are grilled, baked, or sauteed in olive oil. Or ask for anything with the extra cheese, sauce, or toppings on the side.
  1. Try and view going out to dinner as an event or a treat. If you do that then you won’t eat out as often and that will benefit your health and your wallet.
  1. Treat yo’ self. Finally, don’t be afraid to treat yourself every once in awhile. It’s completely okay for you to do so especially if you’ve been doing so well when it comes to eating healthier. Going out to dinner with friends and/or family should be enjoyable not stressful.


Guest Post: Sabrina Spodek, Thrive Wellness & Recovery Intern
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