Dining Out and Staying Healthy

February 23, 2024

In The Kitchen at Second Harvest we cook up lots of great recipes that are even tastier and healthier than what you might eat at some restaurants. But we want to talk about how to make healthy choices when you are out and about. Here’s a few tips to help you take care of yourself while you enjoy a meal prepared by others.

  1. Limit sugary beverages. Choose water, iced tea, or club soda for a zero calorie refreshing drink. Try adding lemon slices for extra flavor.
  2. Share with a friend. Restaurant portion sizes are often twice as big as you actually need. Try splitting an entrée with a friend and adding on side salads to add more volume to your meal.
  3. Alternatively, ask for half of your meal to be boxed up to go before it’s even served to you. Or you could bring your own reusable containers and box it up yourself.
  4. When picking out a salad dressing, look for vinegarettes or even a simple oil and vinegar. Creamy dressings like thousand island and blue cheese dressing tend to be a lot heavier.
  5. Ask for dressings on the side. You may not really want it all.
  6. Worried about added sugar, salt, or fats? Your server can tell you more about what’s in the dish you’re interested in. Don’t be afraid to advocate for what you want.  For example, ask your server if you can get steamed vegetables without the added butter and oils.
  7. Look for opportunities to add more vegetables into your meal! For example, add mushrooms, onions, and peppers to your pizza.
  8. Desserts are best shared. It only takes a few bites to feel satisfied so share the rest with your dining mates.


By Carolyn Alecia Negley, RD

Nutrition Education Manager