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Healthy Diets Foods: Tips When Eating Out

Updated on February 24, 2014
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What drive LoryRich's desire to share health-related hubs with the readers would be her own discoveries / learning with real health issues.

Dining in New York alone or with a company. A sweet smile.  A sumptuous. hearty yet healthy meal. What more can one ask for?
Dining in New York alone or with a company. A sweet smile. A sumptuous. hearty yet healthy meal. What more can one ask for? | Source

Eating Out

Do you struggle when eating out while on a diet either for weight control, some healthy eating and lifestyle option or because of certain health conditions? Then, you could be one of those people who follow, knowingly or unknowingly this great advice by the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates? - "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” And this option is both practical and excellent because chances are you will enjoy a very long, healthy and happy life. Who wouldn't want that?

That you are on a diet (or simply looking for healthy food) does not necessarily mean an end to your social life nor skipping over the enticing ambiance of a dining place altogether. In fact, you are encouraged eating out while enjoying some good company. This is so since being with friends or loved ones to enjoy their company while eating out is a therapeutic activity and lots of fun also.

Besides, if it’s a business luncheon meeting that you find yourself in, then, you are left with almost no option but to eat up. On these occasions, though, diets can still be fun and weight control can still be attained if combined with healthy eating. Let me emphasize it again, it’s healthy eating – which is the smartest way that you can go and to practice conscientiously when eating out either alone or with companions.

Since eating out will be likely to be on your schedule during the week, the following guide includes the best diet picks in most restaurants around, and even fast food chains, that will allow you to stay on your diet or just picking your healthy diet foods.

At a restaurant, make the menu also your best friend to guide you on what will make your eating experience not only good on the appetite but best for the body's health as well.
At a restaurant, make the menu also your best friend to guide you on what will make your eating experience not only good on the appetite but best for the body's health as well. | Source

Healthy Eating – Going Through a Restaurant Menu

The presumption here is that because you are on a special diet food for weight loss or maintenance, it is necessary and understood that you already know how much calorie your diet plan allows you to have per meal and/or per day; and that you are accustomed to plan your days and meals. Good planning is basic to any effective diet and weight management.

For example, women would normally require 1,200 calorie food intake per day, while men would normally require about 1,600 calorie per day. Any person who would likely to succeed in his or her diet has no problem planning her meals (and physical exercises), at least, a week in advance. In short, be in control of your meal, anytime and anywhere. Stay within the calorie and fat targets of every meal. It is also like saying take control of your life because like oxygen or air, food is life.

Now, having said that, let us proceed with our healthy diet food plan while eating out:

  • Pick a familiar eating place, that is, if you have the choice of the place to go to. This will enable you to decide on what to order before arriving at the place.
  • Avoid going to a restaurant with an eat-all-you-can offer – the temptation to overeat because of the eat-all-you-can opportunity will just be too great to resist.
  • Take some snack before going to the eatery – Never go to the eating place very hungry so that you will not overeat. You may also want to take one or more glasses of water before the meal.
  • You may bring your own dressing – Vinaigrette is usually served in an ordinary restaurant and it usually uses olive oil which is a healthy choice. However, if you are in doubt about the availability of low fat dressing in the venue, and if your palate does agree with the taste of vinaigrette, then, feel free to bring your own home-made salad dressing.
  • When picking the menu, skip over the drink section- a beer or mixed beverage may have many empty calories which are not good for your body; but a single glass of red wine may not be too bad to go with your dinner.
  • Order first and fast – This means that if you are in a group, you should take the initiative to make the first order. The idea here is for you not to be influenced by the order of your other companions. You should also do it fast. You don’t have to look at the menu if you already know what to order. If you are not familiar with the menu, then, you have to scan the menu quickly (to avoid looking at tempting very rich food) and make the order right away.
  • Have some soup – stay away from creamy soup; instead, go for clear soup like broths and consommés.
  • You may choose not to have the main dish – this means that you can choose to have only the soup, the salad or appetizer and you can take a bit of everything within the allowance of your calorie target. Wouldn’t that make your meal be more interesting?
  • Share with your companion – In case you decide to order the main dish, you can share it with your friend or companion. That would mean you are splitting the calories and fats as well with the other person.
  • Eat slowly – Avoid hurried eating. Munch the food slowly and thoroughly so that the body can have the chance of absorbing the food better. Besides, it is easier to feel fullness if the food is fully digested.
  • You don’t have to clean your plate- in other words, you don’t have to finish all what’s on your plate. Stop eating once you have consumed the right portion and ask for a diggie bag right away for the take out. Split your meal in half from the start so that you are not tempted to eat the entire thing, which is usually enough for two or three portions.
  • Enjoy your food- Try if this Chinese proverb will work for you: “The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor.”
  • Skip also the dessert section of the menu – or for your dessert, go for fresh fruits instead.
  • Lastly, it won't hurt if you follow this old yet practical and common sense wisdom: " It you can't pronounce it, don't eat it."

Happy eating!

Socializing and dining with friends can be a great stress reliever for the long haul if you can also watch out for and enjoy the food you're gonna be eating.
Socializing and dining with friends can be a great stress reliever for the long haul if you can also watch out for and enjoy the food you're gonna be eating. | Source
Greek salad
Greek salad
Thai food
Thai food | Source
Indian food
Indian food | Source
Mexican food
Mexican food | Source

Ethnic Restaurant

There is a vast variety of ethnic restaurant that offer ethnic food that you can add to your healthy diets foods list. To name a few of these types of ethic restaurant are: Indian restaurants, Chinese restaurant, Thai food , Mexican food, Vietnamese food, Japanese, Chinese restaurant, French restaurants, Greek restaurants, and Filipino cuisines. Depending on what diet you are following, below are some general but useful ideas to guide you in choosing what to have and what to steer clear of from an ethnic restaurant.

Staying on course with your healthy diet food plan, you can have:

  • Any clear soup, miso soup, hot and spicy soups
  • Pastas with tomato based sauce
  • Fish dishes are safe but the fish should be either steamed, grilled, baked, broiled or poached.
  • Other steamed food like rice and dumplings
  • Sushi, sashimi, sukiyaki, noodle bowls
  • Chicken and other meat stew, braised, grilled or baked.
  • Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables

Healthy diets foods should not include these choices. Steer clear of:

  • Creamy soup and soup with egg yolks.
  • Any dish made of cheese, butter, and cream
  • Anything fried including fried rice, or those dipped or bathed in oil, and anything crispy
  • Anything breaded or battered
  • Anything sautéed and roasted
  • Salty foods
  • Pastries of all kind

Sample Recipes for Healthy Eating

Ethnic restaurants usually have dishes prepared with lots of grease, oils and creams.  Carefully check out the ingredients of what you order since there are good ones but some are bad for the diet, remember? Below are sample recipes to familiarize you with some of these ethnic recipes. Chow!!!!!

(1) Chinese Recipe: Grilled Chicken and Broccoli Salad


  • 1 packet of linguine
  • 2 carrots (shredded)
  • 1 lb chicken breasts fillet (halved)
  • 3 cups broccoli (florets)
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup chilli sauce
  • 2 clove garlic (minced)
  • 4 scallions (sliced)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger (ground)

Cooking Procedure

  • Cook linguine according to package instructions till al dente
  • Drain, transfer to a large bowl and set aside
  • In another bowl, add orange juice, soy sauce, chili sauce, oil, garlic and ginger
  • Measure out 1/4 cup of the mixture and set aside
  • Add remaining mixture, scallions and carrots to linguine and toss to coat
  • In a large bowl, toss broccoli with 2 tbsp of reserved mixture
  • Thread broccoli onto 8 skewers
  • Brush remaining mixture over chicken
  • Grill chicken on grill for 8 to 10 mins or till cooked
  • Remove from grill, add broccoli adn grill for 5 mins
  • Cut chicken into strips, transfer bowl with linguine
  • Remove broccoli from skewers and transfer to bowl as well
  • Toss well
  • Serve warm at room temperature or chilled

(2) Indian recipe for cauliflower soup

  • 1 small cauliflower florets
  • 1 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 2 small potatoes (diced)
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (crushed lightly)
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds (crushed lightly)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/4 cup yogurt
  • fresh coriander (garnish)


  • Using a large non-stick pot, heat the ghee or vegetable oil
  • Slowly add in the cauliflower florets, potatoes and water
  • Bring everything to a boil then reduce the heat and let simmer (don't forget to cover) for at least 10 mins
  • Add garlic and ginger paste, turmeric, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds and cook
  • Stir everything frequently to avoidl burning for 3 to 4 mins
  • Add in the vegetable stock
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper
  • Bring everything to a boil again, cover and let simmer for 20 mins
  • Remove from the pot and let cool slightly
  • Using a ladle, scoop the mixture into a food processor and blend till smooth
  • Return to the pot and add in the yogurt
  • Reheat everything till hot then add in salt and pepper to taste if necessary
  • Ladle into individual serving bowl and sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves
  • Serve immediately

(3) Mexican Food: Spaghetti with ancho chile and basil


  • dry Ancho Chiles (stemmed)
  • 1/2 cup wine vinegar
  • 250g spaghetti
  • 4 to 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil (chopped) or 1 tsp dry basil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup Queso Fresco or Feta Cheese (crumbled)


  • Break the stemmed chiles in 1/2 then discard the seeds
  • Wash chiles under water then pat dry with paper towel
  • Soak the chiles in vinegar till soft (10 mins)
  • Drain, discard vinegar then slice chiles into thin strips
  • Cook the spaghetti till al dente or according to package direction
  • Drain then set aside
  • Heat olive oil in pan and saute the garlic and chile strips for a few mins
  • Careful not to burn the garlic
  • Toss in warm spaghetti into olive oil mixture
  • Add in the basil and season with salt and pepper
  • Serve pasta at once, topped with cheese

Source of sample free recipes:


Mark Bittman's has an interesting strategy to share how transitioning to a more plant-based diet can be made pleasurable and proven to be best for health.


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    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 

      7 years ago from Cape Town

      This is excellent, going out to restaurants and being faced with a delish fattening menu is always a challenge!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      Very, very good advice.


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