Healthy Eating Out Ideas by Ronda Smith, RN

Submitted Aug 20, 2003   Updated Sep 26, 2010
By Ronda Smith,

General Principles:

Eating out is not as healthy as cooking at home. Food will usually be higher in salt, fat, and sugar, and lower in fiber.
Look in the "Yellow Pages" under vegetarian restaurants. There are 18 in Seattle area.
Call around to see what non-vegetarian restaurants offer for healthful and vegetarian selections.
Call ahead if you have a dinner engagement, to see what healthy entrees they offer. They appreciate this and you’ll get improved service.
Decide on your guidelines before you go to eat; for example, vegetarian, no dairy or cheese, nothing fried, and no dessert. Trying to make healthy choices with tempting sights and smells right in front of you, and people waiting on you is difficult at best.
Tell the waiter or waitress that you want to eat vegetarian. (or whatever your guidelines are) They often can make good suggestions.

General Suggestions:

1. Baked potato with low fat dressing
2. Salad or salad bar with lemon juice for dressing or nothing
3. Steamed vegetables—ask what they have available
4. Pizza—there is usually at least one vegetarian pizza. Ask them to hold the cheese. Also see if they have a whole wheat (ww) crust. (It doesn’t hurt to ask!!)
5. Spaghetti—choose a maranara sauce (non-meat tomato sauce) without meat balls; Skip the cheese. Choose the healthiest bread and salad.
6. Burgers—ask them to leave the burger and cheese out. (Sounds funny, but they do it all the time.) Or some places have "Garden Burgers" which are vegetarian. (Burgerville, Subway) Ask if they have whole wheat buns.
7. Mexican food—There are lots of things in this area, but watch for cheese and sour cream. Many times (such are Taco Bell) you can ask them to replace the meat with beans in about any dish. Bean burritos without the cheese is an excellent basic dish. (7-layer burritos without the cheese and sour cream from Taco Bell are my favorite!!)
8. Subs—Get a vegetarian sub anywhere, and maybe even on a whole wheat bun. They have lots to put in the sub besides the meat and cheese. Again, skip the cheese and mayo.
9. Pitas—Many times they have vegetarian varieties. Wendy’s has two available. Ask them to hold the cheese and sour cream.
10. Soups—Ask for non-cream, vegetarian varieties. Vegetable soup with WW bread is great
11. Chinese food—Many places will replace meat with tofu. Ask for your veggies to be steamed,. not fried


Grocery store meals on the road:
(Keep knife, fork, spoon, paper plate, napkins and towel in your car for any unexpected "picnics".)

1. Fresh fruit of all kinds
2. Fresh vegetables of all kinds
3. Unroasted nuts
4. Low fat crackers
5. Bread (the best whole wheat with other grains) with naturally sweetened jams
6. Granola with or without soy milk