Mitzi Dulan – America's Nutrition Expert
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Healthy Choices for Eating Out
by Mitzi Dulan, RD, America’s Nutrition Expert®
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Jul
30
2009

vegetarian and meat eaterEating out can be challenging since you don’t have complete control over how your foods are prepared and what ingredients are used but you can definitely learn to make smarter choices and special requests. Next time you’re on the go and making a rush for some quick eats, keep these tips in mind:

General Tips
•Go easy on the extra additives like soy sauce, extra salt, butter, and ketchup and mayo, which are high in calories and sodium.
•Avoid fried options and side items that can add tons of extra fat and calories sabotaging any weight loss efforts.
•Don’t hesitate to ask for special requests but BE VERY NICE! Ask that your veggies be steamed instead of prepared in oil and butter.
•Choose water for your drink order instead of soda or other sugary drinks.

Sushi

•Avoid: tempura-fried rolls; too much volume of rolls- instead choose sashimi style.
•Limit: spicy rolls, which have tons of sauces added that are likely mayonnaise-based; sides such as wasabi and pickled ginger; soy sauce (ask for the low-sodium option).
•Top picks: eel roll; avocado roll; salmon or tuna nigiri; appetizers like tuna tataki, miso soup, edamame, brown rice sushi whenever available.
Sushi Take Home Tip: with sushi just don’t go overboard with too many rolls and pieces which can lead to a very large meal.

Chinese Food

•Avoid: fried rice (most restaurants will swap it for plain rice if you ask); fried entrees; egg rolls; deep-fried dishes.
•Limit: soy sauces and duck sauces; dumplings.
•Top Picks: plain noodles with vegetables and peanut sauce; wonton soup and egg drop soup; brown steamed rice; stir-fried vegetables; ahi tuna dishes, Kung Pao shrimp.

Italian and Pizza Restaurants

•Avoid: fat-laden dipping sauces; extra cheese; thick-crust pies; sugary sides like cinnamon sticks.
•Limit: high-fat meat toppings such as bacon, pepperoni and sausage (try chicken instead).
•Top Picks: thin-crust pizzas with bbq chicken or vegetable toppings such as red peppers, onions and spinach; other toppings like pineapples.

Sub Sandwich Chains (Subway, Quizno’s)

•Avoid: extra cheeses; mayonnaise-based sauces; footlong options; white breads and wraps.
•Limit: side options like chips.
•Top Picks: six-inch options; whole-grain breads; healthy meats such as roast beef, turkey, chicken and lean ham; apples, water.

Mexican Restaurants
•Avoid: refried beans; steak chalupas.
•Limit: sour creams and cheese sauces; nachos; quesadillas; large portions of rice.
•Top Picks: black beans; grilled chicken fajitas, vegetable burritos; shrimp ensaladas.

6 thoughts on “Healthy Choices for Eating Out

  1. I find I do pretty well with these EXCEPT for sushi! It’s easy for me to resist grease-laden French fries and burgers, even though I do like them…but sushi? They usually don’t leave me feeling great, and I always go for the ones with tons of spicy sauces. I can’t help it! Anyone else find one type of takeout to be more difficult to resist than others? How do you resist? Thank goodness sushi is not cheap!

  2. Came to you via your listing in Foodie Blogroll today. Your eating out tips are very good advice. Another one I’ve seen often is to ask the waiter not to bring the bread basket. That’s a hard one!

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