Eating Out the Light Way

Happy National Nutrition Month! How many times have you eaten out this month? We all find ourselves doing it to keep up with busy schedules and tight timeframes. Whether you’re at a drive-thru, office cafeteria or a fine-dining restaurant, you can still “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle” and eat nutrient-rich foods. Follow these simple tips to enjoy eating out without compromising your waist line.

Fast Food: Choose Light & Healthy

  • Take advantage of low-fat or fat-free dairy options like yogurt parfaits and skim or 1% milk.
  • Choose salads topped with lean protein like grilled chicken and ask for dressing on the side.
  • Grilled meat sandwiches are another healthy option. Ask for a whole-wheat bun without butter to cut down on calories.
  • Order a baked potato topped with steamed broccoli and sprinkled with cheese.
  • Swap cream soups for broth-based soups
  • Cut back on portion sizes by choosing kids meals when possible.

Office Cafeteria: Choose Light & Healthy

  • For breakfast, omelet bars are an easy way to incorporate three of the five food groups. Choose healthy fillings like cheese, mushrooms and vegetables.
  • For a quicker option, choose oatmeal topped with berries. Just make sure to make it with milk instead of water. The combination of protein from milk paired with fiber rich oatmeal will keep you full all morning.
  • For lunch, utilize the salad bar and make dark leafy greens your base. Add color and nutrients with fresh fruits and vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, strawberries and blueberries. Boiled eggs, nuts and cheese provide a good source of protein, while oil and vinegar make for a simple, low-fat dressing.
  • Prefer something hot? Choose grilled, broiled, or baked entrées instead of fried ones or pair your salad with a cup of soup.

Dining Out: Choose Light and Healthy

  • Start your meal with a salad or cup of soup to help curb your appetite.
  • Choose either an appetizer or a dessert instead of ordering both.
  • If entrees are large, try splitting to save calories.
  • Order leaner cuts of beef or pork, such as sirloin or tenderloin.
  • Instead of overindulging, take leftovers to go. You’ll leave feeling good and have lunch the next day!

Enjoy eating out and bite into a healthier lifestyle just by making simple choices each day to help save calories, maximize healthy nutrition, and maintain a healthy weight.

Jenny Beth Kroplin, RD, LDN, CLC

Jenny Beth Kroplin, RD, LDN, CLCJenny Beth is a Nashville-based dietitian, media personality, speaker, and consultant. Follow her post online at

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