Going Out Tonight? Here Are a Few Healthy Restaurant Eating Ideas

by Isabel De Los Rios

healthy restaurant eating ideas

So you’ve decided to eat healthier, starting with cleaning up your diet. Sooner or later it’s time to go eat out and you may not have full control of the restaurant choice. Healthy restaurant eating is possible and can be much easier than you think. If you have to travel a lot or don’t really have the option of bringing lunch to work, here are a few ideas you can use to stick to your new clean eating goals and still have a good time going out.

When I’m on vacation, traveling for business, or just in a situation where I’m not at home cooking, here is my plan of attack.

I do what I call “damage control:” Do the best I can, with what I’ve got and have an awesome time on my trip! This is important. Don’t worry. Don’t stress. You do the best you can, and because you’ve been doing well on your own, you can relax and have a great time!

Prepare my “emergency kit.” I will pack and take with me: walnuts, almonds, almond butter, organic turkey and beef jerky, apples and pears. None of these need refrigeration so they will keep well wherever you are. If I’m in a situation where there is no protein handy (like when it’s time for a snack), I’ve got my nuts and jerky to tie me over. If you don’t have something handy, you just may find yourself grabbing pretzels and potato chips.

Don’t be shy about pulling these out at a restaurant with everyone else. No one will be offended, and if they are, well put them in their place! You may even find an opportunity to tell people what you’re up to and win a few converts.


There is always a protein on the menu, no matter where you go. Omelets or smoked salmon are my favorite choices but I’ve even gone to places that now carry turkey bacon and turkey sausage on the menu. Stay away from the heavy and deadly pancakes and waffles. This is a blood sugar disaster waiting to happen. Eating a sugar loaded breakfast like this will only set you up for hunger and cravings the rest of the day. And, it just may ruin an otherwise great day.

Lunch and Dinner

I have said this before. Most of us know what is healthy on the menu but we still continue to order the crappy stuff. Yes, I do believe in a treat and a cheat meal once or twice a week, but definitely not every time you go out. Some people choose items off the menu like they are being sent to starvation camp when they get home. This is not an “all or nothing” deal. You’ve committed to eating healthy for a lifetime. Don’t worry. The food will always be there whether you eat it all at once or space it out over a lifetime.

Ok, back to my point. First, items on the menu that you know are drenched in heavy sauces are an instant No-No. Fettuccine Alfredo? Come on now. Are you serious? Can you get the steak, veggies and salad instead and be just as happy? Or, the Chicken Cacciatore with a side of broccoli rabe? (Yes, we’re at an Italian restaurant). Often times, our taste buds are really just as happy with a healthier choice. No, this is not deprivation. This is choosing to feel good, be healthy and eat good food at the same time. Comprende?


I love desserts too and I will definitely get myself a yummy piece of apple pie or chocolaty treat while I am away. But if the piece of dessert is bigger than the size of my head, I will not eat the whole thing. There is no need. My taste buds are just as happy with a few bites. And my body doesn’t punish me for it later, either. Remember, we’re not going to starvation camp after this. Trust me, there is enough apple pie, chocolate or (insert your favorite dessert here) to have a small amount at any time for the rest of your life.

The Trolls

The who? Yes, you know who the trolls are. Those people who tell you to “just eat what you want,” or “don’t torture yourself.” These people always seem to come out of hiding when dining with you at a restaurant. (They are also present at parties and family functions. Be afraid. Be very, very afraid). Don’t let anybody else tell you that taking care of yourself and feeling great is a bad thing. I don’t mean to talk bad about your family and friends, but chances are they are not too thrilled with their current weight and health and could potentially be bothered that you actually started to eat healthy and take control of your life. Don’t give their comments a second thought, and just do your thing.

Remember, there is no need to avoid restaurants and going out with your friends (though avoiding typical fast food joints is always best). Just focus on the healthier options and have a great time!

Isabel is a certified nutritionist and exercise specialist who has already helped over 25,000 people all over the world lose incredible amounts of weight, regain their health and permanently change their lives using the principles in The Diet Solution Program.

About the author...

 is a certified nutritionist and exercise specialist who has already helped over 25,000 people all over the world lose incredible amounts of weight, regain their health and permanently change their lives. She is the creator and author of Beyond Diet, a whole foods, lifestyle approach to managing weight.

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