Dining out or eating in? Making the best of your choices

July 10, 2011

Dining out often can wreck havoc on your diet – even when you have the best intentions. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make good choices. A healthy diet takes balance and eating out can be part of your plan.

For the mom-to-be there are some challenges to restaurant meals:

  • Typically large servings may tempt you to overeat; take half of it home or doggy-bag-it.
  • Higher fat foods and fried food may cause heartburn or nausea.
  • Servings of vegetables and fruits are usually minimal. Consider ordering a side salad or side of veggies to round out the meal.
  • Low fat milk may not be available, if you eat out regularly be sure to get your dairy at home.

Savvy at the Salad Bar

Most people think salad bar and healthy go hand in hand; however you have special concerns such as soft cheese and deli meats. Here are some tips to creating a healthy salad.

  • Choose good sources of protein: Eggs, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, grilled chicken breast
  • Go easy on the hidden fats: fried noodles, coconut, bacon bits, mayonnaise based salads, fried zucchini and potato skins.
  • Load up on the veggies: bell peppers, tomatoes, beets, carrots, lettuce and avocado are some of my favorite salad toppers.
  • Add in fruit: fruit is a sweet addition to salads, go for strawberries, pineapple and melon which complement savory ingredients.

At the table

Have you ever seen a women rip through a bread basket like she’s never eaten before? She was probably pregnant! Resist the temptation by either having a small snack before heading out, or ask the waiter to hold it before it ever arrives and ask for a soup or salad instead.

On the menu:

  • Healthy entrée lingo: Marinara sauce, grilled, baked, poached, steamed, stir-fried, lean and light.
  • Over-indulgence lingo: Butter, butter sauce, hollandaise, au-grain, alfredo, creamed, cream, pan fried, fried.
  • For soups always order broth based soups such as vegetable, chicken noodle and lentil.
  • Order dressings or sauces on the side.

Better-for-you entrées


  • Fajitas – Vegetable, chicken, beef, shrimp
  • Chicken enchiladas
  • Burritos – vegetable, tofu, chicken, bean


  • Veal or chicken with pasta in marinara sauce
  • Pasta primavera
  • Ravioli with marinara sauce
  • Vegetable lasagna
  • Slice of pizza and side salad

Bistro style

  • Grilled chicken sandwich
  • Grilled veggie wrap
  • Grilled shrimp over whole grain pasta
  • Panini

Steak House

  • Filet mignon 7 to 8 ounces
  • Grilled salmon or other low-mercury fish

Healthy starters

  • Tomato, bean or vegetable soup
  • Hummus and corn tortilla chips
  • Gazpacho
  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Mixed green salad


  • Baked potato, brown/wild rice
  • Baked beans
  • All vegetables
  • Whole grain pasta

Better-for-you dessert

  • Fresh fruit
  • Sorbet or sherbet
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Fruit crisp
  • Crème brulee or flan


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