MU Extension MU Extension       University of Missouri    ●    Columbia    ●    Kansas City       Missouri S&T     ●    St. Louis - Food and Fitness


Feature Articles: Eating Well


Choose healthfully when eating out

Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Bates County, University of Missouri Extension


With our hectic lifestyles we are spending more and more of our food dollars at fast food and full service restaurants. We might not have easy access to nutrition information in a restaurant like we do from foods purchased at the grocery store, but it is possible to choose healthfully when eating out. Just keep the following tips in mind:


  • Choose meats and poultry that are broiled, grilled or roasted. This helps keep fat consumption in check.
  • Ask if you can substitute a salad or baked potato for French fries.
  • Remember that mayonnaise on sandwiches can add a significant amount of fat and calories. Have mustard on your burger and ask for a lower calorie spread on other sandwiches.
  • When choosing a sauce, remember that white or cream sauces are higher in fat. Red or tomato sauces are a better choice because they have less fat and calories.
  • Ask to have your salad dressing on the side. It makes it easier to limit the amount you eat. Also, try a low-fat salad dressing for fewer calories and fat.
  • Portions can be very large at restaurants. Split a meal with someone or put aside half before you eat and take the other half home.
  • Cream of broccoli soup sounds healthy but anything that says “cream” is high in calories. Broth-based soups are usually a better choice.
  • Resist the urge to mega-size your meal at a fast food restaurant. An extra large burger and fries can double or triple the total calories and fat. One large super-sized burger can provide all of the fat grams you should eat for an entire day!
  • All-you-can-eat buffets are great for the pocketbook but not great for the waistline. We tend to eat more food if more food is in front of us. If you do eat at a buffet, be sure to fill your plate with plenty of fruits and vegetables.


Eating out has become a necessity for many of us. With planning and self discipline, it is possible to eat a healthful meal that will provide the important nutrients you need.


University of Missouri logo links to

Site Administrator:
Copyright  ADA  Equal Opportunity

MissouriFamilies is produced by the College of Human Environmental Sciences,
Extension Division, University of Missouri

Last update: Wednesday, February 17, 2016