Making Smart Food Choices at a Restaurant

Eating healthy doesn’t always mean sacrificing your favorite meals. Although it may not seem like it, you can still stay on track with your diet when enjoying a meal out with friends and family.

Since restaurants—especially fast food chains—tend to use more fat, salt and sugar than home-cooked meals, you just need to be smart about what you order from the menu. To make it simple, here are some things to keep in mind next time you’re eating out:

  • Avoid fried and carb-heavy options, like fried chicken or macaroni and cheese.
  • Watch your portion size, as many restaurants give you more than one serving.
  • Be mindful of your beverage choice, since there are many hidden calories in sugary sodas and alcoholic drinks.

A Handy Guide to Portion Control

A serving of protein should be the size of the palm of your hand.

A serving of carbs should be the size of your fist.

A serving of vegetables should be the size of an open hand.

Nutritional Information (per serving)

Total Calories 290
Total Fat 15 g
Protein 19 g
Carbohydrates 19 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Sodium 540 mg
Total Sugars 4 g

Source: USDA

Potato and Ham Skillet With Eggs


  • 2 potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 onions (small, chopped)
  • 1 green pepper (chopped)
  • 6 eggs (beaten)
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 6 ounces frozen ham (thawed and chopped, about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese (shredded)


  1. In a medium-size skillet, cook potatoes in oil over medium heat until just soft, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in onion, green peppers and ham, and cook 5 minutes.
  3. Pour eggs and black pepper over potato mixture in pan, and sprinkle with cheese.
  4. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until eggs are firm and cheese is melted.

Makes: 6 servings

For more information and helpful links, please download our September 2019 Live Well, Work Well Newsletter.

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This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. Readers should contact a health professional for appropriate advice.