Healthiest Restaurant Foods – What To Pick Off The Menu

Healthiest Restaurant Foods – What To Pick Off The Menu
Heather Nicholds, C.H.N.


I have pretty high standards when it comes to healthy eating, and on the rare occasions that Phil and I go out for a meal I try to find the healthiest restaurant foods I can.

I’ve always preferred home-cooked food to restaurants, but as I’ve moved further along the path of healthy eating it’s gotten more and more difficult for me to enjoy a meal out.

It’s not that I worry about putting on weight, because we only eat out occasionally. I just don’t feel very good after eating unhealthy foods. I stay full for hours, I have crazy dreams, I might get a headache and my digestive system usually complains in one way or another.

As I wrote on Monday, the first step in finding the healthiest restaurant foods is to choose where you’ll go by looking at their menu online ahead of time. If you don’t get the choice, then you have to play it by ear once you’re seated.

Looking for healthy foods at the big chains can be pretty tricky. Ingredients aren’t listed, cheese is often thrown on everything, and sometimes you can’t even find a salad that’s vegetarian. I don’t mind asking for something left off or substitutions, but you’ll notice that they don’t reduce your bill when you don’t get chicken on that salad.

When I go out for dinner and am looking for the healthiest restaurant foods, I try to stick with lots of vegetables. Salads are great, but be careful with the type of dressing you choose and ask for it on the side.

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Soups are a good choice for filling you up with fewer calories than most restaurant dishes, but unfortunately, there aren’t always vegetarian or vegan options. If we have an appetizer, Phil and I like to share a vegetable-based dish. Going for grilled vegetables is a much better choice than nachos.

Veggie burgers are a nice treat (although not always vegan), but really pack in calories and fat so you may want to cut it in half before you start and take the rest home for another treat tomorrow.

Pastas and pizzas can be alright if they’re loaded up with veggies, but are definitely prone to cheese drowning, and aren’t usually made with whole wheat flour.

My final tip, for those on a vegan diet plan but also just for minimizing fat and calories, is to always tell your server that you don’t want any cheese. It seems to show up on everything these days, even when you least expect it.

If you tell your server that you’re allergic to dairy (which many people are, even if they don’t know it), they’ll (hopefully!) be particularly careful to make sure it doesn’t show up. Just a thought… 😉

Which healthiest restaurant foods do you usually choose?


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