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Healthy Eating: Healthy Dining Tips

Americans dine out an average of 4-5 times per week. Often, restaurant meals contain an entire day’s worth of calories and fat and are typically low in vitamins, minerals and fiber. However, there are ways to eat a healthy and nutritious meal while dining out.

Here are some tips:

  • Start your meal with a salad packed with veggies; this helps control hunger and makes you feel satisfied sooner.
  • Go easy on the complementary foods at the beginning of a meal, like chips and salsa (average 450 calories) and bread. One breadstick contains 150 calories.
  • Order unsweetened tea or water instead of soft drinks.
  • Order steamed, grilled or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sautéed.
  • Choose a “small” or “medium” portion, or share an entrée with a friend.
  • If you must order an entire meal, ask for a to-go box as soon as you get your food and put half of the meal in the box to save for later.
  • Ask for sauces and dressings to be served on the side so you can only add as much as you need.
  • Load up on fruits and vegetables that are fresh or steamed instead of fried.
  • Resign from the “clean your plate” club. When you’ve eaten enough, leave the rest.

Certified Healthy Restaurants

Another tip is to choose restaurants that offer healthy options. A state-wide intiative started in 2009 recognizes single venues, as well as local and national chains, that offer healthy options and environments for their patrons. Criteria for certifications includes: a smoke-free environment, healthy food choices for children and adults, and nutrition information provided.

To learn more about the Certified Healthy Restaurant program, click here.

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