Living Fit

Eating Out, Eating Clean – Tips to Restaurant Survival

eating out restaurants

The thing about restaurants is – they want you to come back; health isn’t generally their focus. They load you up with heavy fats, plenty of sugar, salt and simple carbs to heighten your dining experience. Unfortunately that can also reduce the quality of your health, depending on how often you eat out. However, going in prepared to make the best possible choices makes eating out more approachable to the healthy eater.   

Here are my best tips for eating out.

  • Check the menu online when you are not hungry and before you go. Choose wisely and don’t open the menu once you get there. Order as planned.
  • Eat some veggies and drink water before you leave for the restaurant. This will help you make good choices and still leave you hungry soon enough to enjoy your meal. Never go overly hungry as the choices will not be as easy to make and the bread or chips basket prior too easy to fall into.
  • If it’s your choice, choose sushi or a fish restaurant. If Mexican, order fajitas with no dairy and light on the oil. Ask them to bring chopped romaine instead of tortillas. Makes a great salad!  Add salsa to your heart’s content.
  • Ask them to put chips and bread far from you. Once whomever you’re eating with knows you don’t want it, you will be less likely to ask for it. If you’re by yourself, skip them.
  • Sit next to the most health conscious person at the table.
  • Ask for your food the way you want it. Tell the waiter you want less oil, or no dairy, or skip the croutons. Don’t be shy; they are there to serve you.
  • Try not to get things on the side; they sometimes serve more that way and you’re tempted. If you know it’s a place that over serves the dressing or toppings, go for the side instead and be mindful!
  • Don’t clean your plate unless you’re hungry and the portion size is reasonable. That little bit that’s too small to save? Save it! Small bites make great snacks the following day!
  • Many restaurants are already on MFP for logging.  Chipotle burrito in a bowl, no dairy or guac? No problem, it’s there!


Be prepared to enjoy yourself and feel great tomorrow! 

~Lorrie

Italian_dishes_on_a_table,_served_at_a_restaurant_in_Dhaka,_Bangladesh.

 Work with our team now!! Join our fitness quest community and get started on your fitness journey for just $1 for the first month. Five coaches, weekly workouts and nutritional guidance, all with the best community around.

Use the coupon code: QUEST1DOLLAR

8 thoughts on “Eating Out, Eating Clean – Tips to Restaurant Survival

  1. I’ve followed a plant based diet for almost a year and a half. I have found that I can find something to eat at any restaurant. One does need to be creative with selections, be proactive in asking for what you want, and be willing to pay for any special requests, if necessary.

  2. Lorrie, I have two dinners out this week in the Portland area and it’s my turn to pick where. Each of these women strive to each well but are also challenged, one had great success at one point and then work stress has taken over and she has gained back all she lost. I’d like to both take care of me and provide good choice options for my friends. Do you have any restaurant recommendations for the downtown Portland area? Thanks! Mary Lou

    1. Portland is one of the best dining cities in the US! There are so many options to chose from, I wouldn’t know where to begin. It depends on your tastes, price-range, location and general flavors/ethnicity preferences. You are so kind to be so considerate to your friends. Most menus have great choices and not so great, but for overall quality: least expensive: Laughing Planet. For higher level experience, my niece loves TUSK. For smaller plates and live music, I like Andina. For Raw Food, Pixie Retreat in NW is excellent but not really much ambience for dining in. One of my favorites is Kanara Thai near Providence Park (home of the Timbers). I don’t eat out much in the city so I’m not the best help at this. Let’s chat more on the PNW Regional page where others might have some suggestions.

  3. You gave me two really great options for where I will be and where they are coming from. Striving for Tusk for one and Andina for the other. Thanks so much. Similar to you, I don’t get to downtown very often and always feel at a loss when it is my turn to choose. I like trying new things, but also want good food choices.

  4. Hi Lorrie! I’m taking part in the 8 week jumpstart and halfway through the 2nd week I will be traveling to NW Arkansas to visit family. My mom is, for the most part, home bound and has all of her meals brought in for her so when we are there, my boys and I are generally eating out for every meal. There is 1 Italian restaurant that is very good with special ordering that we always visit (it’s our favorite) so I’m not worried about that one meal but this will be 5 days of restaurant and airport food. Any tips to minimize the damage?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*