Tips to Choose Healthier Foods from the Restaurant Menu

Don’t let restaurants ransom your diet. A typical entrée at a restaurant packs enough calories (about 1,000), sodium and fat for an entire day or more. But with the right approach, you can still enjoy a restaurant meal without completely sabotaging your goals to eat healthier and lose weight. Try these ideas for a healthy dining out experience:

  • When perusing the menu, pay close attention to how foods are cooked. Avoid items that are deep-fried (read: fried or crispy) or cooked in a pan (read: sauté, stir-fry or pan-fried). Instead, opt for food that’s grilled, broiled, roasted, steamed or raw, which are typically cooked without a ton of added fats. Also beware of foods served in cream or buttered sauces, which are high in fat.
  • Time to order! Substitute high fat items like French fries or chips for a baked potato or side salad. Ask for butter, cream cheese, salad dressing, sauces and gravies to be served on the side so you can control the quantity you consume. And don’t forget to go easy on the beverages. Calories and sugar from soda and cocktails can sneak up on you.
  • Restaurants are notorious for serving huge portions. When dining out with friends, consider going family-style and splitting a few entrées or suggest splitting a meal with someone. Or ask the server to box half your meal right away so you can take the rest home and keep portion sizes in check.
  •  Use Zestar’s restaurant recommendation feature that provides a list of meal choices straight from the restaurant’s menu to help you choose the best food choice to keep you on track with your diet. Zestar’s database contains menus from more than 150 restaurants. If the restaurant you’re going to isn’t listed, you can choose the “typical” menu option to get recommended foods that are usually listed on menus of that restaurant type. Zestar even provides recommendations for stadium foods which is perfect with baseball season and Spring Training just around the corner.

Armed with these strategies in mind whenever you eat out, you won’t have to worry about setting back your diet. Rather, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious (and healthy) meal with friends and family.

What are you strategies for eating healthy at restaurants?


Zestar co-founder and dedicated Zestar app user Joy Solomon was inspired by her weight loss struggles with diet after diet that did not bring results. Guided by her scientific education and extensive medical and health information background (including CEO of IVI Publishing, the creator of the highly acclaimed Mayo Clinic health information website), Joy delved into the science of weight loss to bring Zestar to life. Join her on her weight loss journey as she blogs about tips and insights that can help you be successful on your weight loss journey too. Read Joy's full bio.


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