Need help making healthy choices when eating out?

Everyone wants to eat out every once and awhile. Sometimes we are in a time crunch, and other times we want to enjoy an occasion by treating ourselves to a meal out. While home-cooked meals are usually healthier, eating out can be okay too- if you are informed. The key is deciphering the menu and knowing what to look for.

First, know your “key” words. Foods served fried, au gratin, crispy, scalloped, pan-fried, sautéed, buttered, creamed or stuffed are high in fat and calories. Instead, look for steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached or roasted foods.

Second, beware of portion sizes. Many restaurants serve portions much larger than one person needs. To stay within a reasonable portion size, try splitting an entree with a friend. Or, ask for a "to-go" box and wrap up half your meal for lunch the following day.

Some communities have worked with restaurants to make nutrition information available through menu labeling or signs. This means the restaurant will provide the nutritional content of foods on menus, menu boards, and food item tags at the point-of purchase in fast-food and full-service restaurants. That way, if you see an entree you are unsure is healthy, you’ll see the calorie information right beside it!

How is your community supporting restaurant programs that offer and promote healthier food options? Share tips for healthy ways to eat out right here!

Want to know more?

Example Community- Smart Choices, Pima County, AZ

How to read nutrition labels:

Menu Labeling Policies:

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