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The Alaska Club

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Eating Healthy While Eating Out

Posted by Elize Rumsley – RD, LD, CDE, MS, PhD. | Sep 30, 2022 3:16:03 PM

The end-of-year holidays are just around the corner with all the attendant festivities featuring high-calorie food and drink. Many people regain all the weight lost during the more active spring and summer months plus a few more during the coming season of revelry.

Although the healthiest way of eating is by making your own meals (you know exactly how they are prepared and what the ingredients are), you needn’t be afraid to dine out. Instead of feeling guilty after eating, go out mentally prepared to make healthy choices. If you are prepared, you don’t need to sacrifice a healthy diet plan. This applies to eating at parties or restaurants, attending conferences, going out with friends, or traveling.

Here are some tips for how to make smart choices:

1) Plan ahead of time. If you are going to a restaurant, check the menu in advance. Preview the menu on the restaurant website. After you arrive ask the wait staff whether they are able to make some changes or substitutions such as switching out a side of fries for, grilled or steamed veggies. More and more restaurants are catering to individual preferences such as low salt seasoning or replacing butter with oil or low-fat dressings or sauces.

2) Remember your portion sizes. If the restaurant doesn’t have small portion sizes, ask your friend or partner to share a meal or ask for a box to take half home. This can be more economical and can save hundreds of calories.

3) Think before you drink. Remember that sweet and/or alcoholic drinks have more calories than their counterparts. Drink slowly and try to avoid ordering seconds. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after consuming alcohol.

4) If dessert is a must, order one for the whole group and ask for several forks to share. Eat a small piece and avoid seconds.

5) Don’t forget to be active before you go out to eat and try to move afterward too. Often this can be as easy as parking your car further away or, if an option, choosing the stairs instead of the elevator can be helpful. Sign up for an exercise class before the holidays and make this a daily routine.


For more information, contact your local registered dietitian and work with a personal trainer.

Written by Elize Rumsley – RD, LD, CDE, MS, PhD.

Elize is registered and state licensed, has a BS in Human Nutrition and a MA and PhD in Nutrition Science.

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