Tips When Dining Out

Don’t be shy about making special requests.

 Ask your server if the chef can prepare the meal of your choosing with less salt and lower fat ingredients.  Call ahead to see if these alterations can be made.

Equally important is the portion size.

Choose a smaller size, share the entree with a friend, or put half in a to-go container to help control the amount of food you are consuming when going out!

  • Foods high in fat and calories: Fried, au gratin, crispy, escalloped, pan-fried, sautéed or stuffed foods.  Look for steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached or roasted foods. Always ask your server how the dish is prepared. 
  • Request the use of vegetable oil (made from canola, olive, corn, soy, sunflower or safflower) be used for your meal or soft margarine.
  • High-sodium foods include those that are pickled, in cocktail sauce, smoked, in broth or au jus or in soy or teriyaki sauce. Limit these items. Ask that your food be prepared without added salt or MSG.
  • Have gravy, sauces and dressings served on the side, so you can control the amount you eat or skip them completely.
  • Ask for fat-free or 1 percent milk instead of whole milk.
  • Even if they aren't on the dessert menu, many restaurants can offer you fruit or sherbet instead of high-fat pastries and ice creams.    

**Many supermarkets and specialty stores offer prepared entrees to take home when you're in a rush; the same tips listed here for restaurants also apply to take-home foods.

Choose this-Not that!

Fast food
Choose: Grilled chicken or fish. Ask for the sauce separately and use just a little bit (about one tablespoon). Instead of fries, order a salad (dressing on the side).
Not: Deep-fried foods. 

Coffee bar
Choose: An 8-ounce coffee with milk; 11 calories
Not: A 20-ounce latte; 340 calories

Choose: Fajitas made with grilled meats and vegetables, burritos or enchiladas filled with chicken, shrimp, or lean meat and a small amount of cheese
Not: Dishes smothered with cheese, fried chimichangas, refried beans, large bowls of tortilla chips (a few with salsa is fine), pitchers of margaritas (limit yourself to one for 170 calories)

Choose: Sushi made with shrimp, tuna, tofu, or vegetables, sashimi, miso soup, teppanyaki dishes (meat, fish, or vegetables cooked on an iron griddle)
Not: Tempura, large platters of sushi rolls (each can be 250 calories or more, and you can easily eat two or three), teriyaki (the sauce can contain a lot of sugar)

Choose: Stir-fried shrimp, chicken and vegetables, steamed brown rice
Not: Dishes with thick sweet-and-sour sauces like Kung Pao chicken, large bowls of rice, fried egg rolls, lo mein, breaded or deep-fried foods such as orange beef

Choose: Tandoori chicken or other foods cooked in a tandoor oven ("tikka" or "bhuna" dishes are not covered in heavy sauces)
Not: Dishes that come with creamy sauces, naan (Indian breads that are often stuffed with potatoes or coconut and topped with butter), deep-fried samosas

Choose: Vegetable or seafood antipasto, minestrone soup, fish or chicken dishes served with vegetables, grilled meats
Not: Deep-fried and breaded foods such as veal or eggplant parmesan, creamy sauces such as fettuccine Alfredo, dishes stuffed with cheese such as manicotti and calzones

** Always substitute the french fries for vegetables or a salad (make sure those veggies are steamed, not soaked in a butter sauce!)


N.A. (2015). Retrieved from 

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