Food Wise: Tips for Healthy Eating at the Restaurant

| 12/4/2008 8:52:01 AM

My husband owns a restaurant, so even though I love to cook, I end up eating at his place several times out of the week (at least 4 times) so we can have dinner together. In addition, we love going out to other restaurants, both for research and for fun.

While I really enjoy being able to do this with my husband, I know that it is not the healthiest approach to eating. So in the last years I have come up with a couple of ground rules that have kept me from gaining weight and feeling sluggish. I don’t always follow them, but I do keep them in mind. I have been successful at staying healthy, and I think this will be useful to you through the holidays and the rest of the year.


Restaurant fare is tasty, but not healthy enough to eat every day.

1. Always enjoy your food. Don’t order a salad you don’t like if you really want pasta. The salad won’t satisfy you, and you may end up eating your partner’s cold leftovers when you get home. Order something you want, but eat only what you need.

2. Skip the bread. I never eat the bread at our restaurant. It comes with garlic and herb butter and it is delicious, but it is not what I go there for. No one really needs the white flour or the butter, so ask your server to take it away. If you are used to eating with bread by your side, resist the temptation to eat it until your entrée has arrived; this will keep you from filling up on it and asking for more.

3. Look for protein- and vegetable-based dishes, and ask the server to skip the starches. I usually ask my server to substitute the mashed potatoes and risotto for extra vegetables. For example, a salmon steak and green beans is an excellent dinner choice; will you really miss the buttery spaghetti? For me it is like the old saying ‘out of sight, out of mind.’