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Making better choices when eating out or ordering in

Camilla Marcus restaurant owner
Posted at 8:00 AM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 11:07:59-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mi. — Everyone loves to enjoy a meal at a restaurant or order take out, but sometimes it can be a challenge to make healthy decisions when faced with a big menu. Registered dietician and National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Grace Derocha has a few tips to bring with you to the dinner (or breakfast or lunch) table.

When checking out the menu, look for some key words. If it says crispy, crunchy, fried, creamy, cheesy, any of those words are going to alert you that there's probably going to be a little bit more calories and fat. Some better options – look for these words: steamed, grilled, sauteed or baked.

The average restaurant meal serves us about 1200 calories and huge portions. So, planning to bring home leftovers is also a good idea. Grab a box or a container and set aside half of your meal for later.

When choosing sides, opt for vegetables – a salad is a great way to add some good nutrition and nourish your body. And get those sauces and dressings on the side. Especially if you’re ordering take out – that way leftovers can be fresh a second day.

Try to take control of what you’re ordering – Grace says if you don’t ask, the answer is always no. Make a request to the kitchen to have them prepare it your way. Maybe light butter or hold the extra salt. Those can be easy asks. If the chef can’t do it, they will say no.

And finally, Grace says if you want to eat the bad stuff, eat the bad stuff – but make sure it’s only once in a while. If you're ordering out a couple times a week, keep these tips in mind so you’re not derailing your healthy lifestyle.