National Nutrition Month is a great time for you to work on developing sound eating habits that you can follow all year long, especially when you’re eating out. Whether you’re eating carry-out or at a sit-down restaurant, here are a few tips to keep in mind to help you make healthy choices.

  • Calories. Consider the calorie information when deciding between different dishes and what to order. Plan ahead and review the nutrition information available on most restaurant websites. This can help you select healthier options before you arrive and reduce pressure you may feel to order quickly.
  • Side Dishes. For side dishes, consider steamed vegetables or fruit.
  • Portion Size. Save half of your meal for later or ask for a dessert to be split for a more appropriate portion size. This is key when servings are large or high in calories.
  • Rethink your drink. Calories from beverages can add up quickly, especially if the restaurant offers free refills. Choose healthier options, like water or low-fat or fat-free milk, or drinks that have zero calories, such as unsweetened coffee or tea.
  • Dressings. Ask for sauces and dressing on the side to help control the amount that goes on your food.
  • Read the Descriptions. Limit foods that are fried or served in high-calorie sauces. You can do this by avoiding selections with the words crunchy, crispy, battered or breaded in the descriptions. Sauces that are creamy, cheesy, and alfredo should also be avoided.

    More healthful options contain baked, grilled, roasted or steamed in their descriptions. Ask for sauces that are al fresco or marinara.

Additional Resources

Not sure what to give up for Lent? Try These Healthy Changes
This article from The Spark breaks down the calories you could save by giving up 10 popular foods.

Try talking with a Health Coach.
UPMC Health Plan members and Thrive Wellness Only members have free access to UPMC health coaches. Call 1-866-778-6073 (TTY: 711) or log in to the MyHealth OnLine portal.