Guidelines For Dining Out

2 min read

  • Eat a healthy snack before going out to dinner, so you do not arrive at the restaurant famished and then overeat.
  • Drink a glass of water before the meal and continue drinking water throughout the meal.
  • Do not eat the bread on the table before the meal. Request that it is removed from the table or place it out of arm’s reach.
  • To start the meal, order a salad (with non-creamy dressing on the side) or a broth soup.
  • Do not order fried or breaded foods.
  • Share your appetizer or entrée with a friend. Alternatively, cut your portion in half and ask for the second half to be brought home in a doggie bag.
  • Ask for extra vegetables instead of rice or potato.
  • Ask questions about how items are prepared. Choose foods that are baked, broiled, roasted, poached, grilled or steamed. Stay away from items that are sautéed, cooked with cream or butter, scalloped, au gratin, Alfredo, or batter dipped.
  • All sauces and condiments should be ordered on the side.
  • Reduce the amount of cheese in the meal.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. If you are drinking, make sure to drink plenty of water with a goal of 2 glasses of water for every alcoholic beverage.
  • Avoid high calorie desserts. If you must eat dessert, try the “three bite rule.â€
  • Avoid buffets.
  • For lunch, choose whole-grain or whole wheat bread. Choose lower calorie meats, like turkey, chicken, and lean cuts of ham and roast beef. Ask for less meat and more vegetables. Use mustard, vinegar and low fat dressings rather than mayonnaise and oil. If you must have cheese on your sandwich, limit it to only one slice.
  • For breakfast, choose Greek yogurt, oatmeal, eggs/egg whites/egg substitutes, non-sugar-high fiber cereals, fruit, and protein shakes. When splurging, remember that pancakes with syrup have one third less fat that French toast or a Belgian waffle with whipped cream and fruit.

Chinese Food

  • Drink tea to feel full sooner and slow down your meal.
  • If available, choose a lunch-sized portion.
  • Choose a soup as an appetizer. Egg drop soup and hot and sour soup are about 100 calories/cup. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and select fruits and vegetables with a wide variety of colors.
  • Select a chicken, shrimp or vegetable dish instead of a noodle or rice dish.
  • Ask for brown rice instead of white or fried rice.
  • Ask for twice as much veggies and half as much meat in your entrée.
  • Order steamed dumplings rather than fried.
  • Don’t eat the fried noodles!!!

Italian Food

  • Avoid the breadbasket, especially the garlic bread.
  • For appetizers, choose minestrone, insalata, bruschetta, and roasted peppers.
  • Select marsala, arrabiata and piccata entrees instead of scaloppini, pesto, or parmigiana. Avoid casseroles and cream filled pastas.
  • Limit the cheese.
  • When ordering pasta, only eat half. Choose marinara-based pasta dishes or red or white clam sauce.


  • Go light on the cheese. Do not add extra cheese!
  • Ask for vegetables toppings.
  • Choose a thin crust when possible.
  • Choose pizza with red sauce instead of cream sauces.

Mexican Food

  • Watch your sour cream, guacamole, and cheese.
  • Limit fried tortilla chips and nibble on tortillas instead.
  • Use salsa, which counts as one serving of vegetables.