How to Dine Out and Stay Healthy

It’s not always easy to make healthy choices when you’re out to eat. Large portions, heavy sauces, fried sides…it’s all very tempting. However, if you go in prepared – healthy choices are easier to make! Here are a few quick tips on how to make healthy choices when dining out:

1. If you’re at a restaurant with inevitably large portions, then ask for a to go box as soon as your food arrives. Place part of your food in the box immediately, and put it aside. This way, you won’t be as tempted to eat the entire plate in front of you. If you’re really still hungry, you can always dig in to the extra food, but this will cut down on the chances of eating more even when you’re full.

2. Ask for sauces and dressings to be held on the side of your plate. This is a simple way to control heavy-handed chefs adding potentially unnecessary calories.

3. Share appetizers and desserts if you must indulge. Sharing is caring after all!

4. Fortunately, many restaurants have started offering lighter options (see below). Check out their online menus to choose your lighter option ahead of time. If you go in prepared, you might not be as tempted to order a heavier meal.

Here are some great examples of popular restaurants offering a light menu:

Red Lobster LightHouse Selections:

Red Lobster Light OptionsEntrees: 

Red Lobster Light Options

  • Wood-Grilled Fresh Tilapia (half portion)* 260 cal, 6g fat, 390mg sod.
  • Wood-Grilled Fresh Rainbow Trout (half portion)* 290 cal, 12g fat, 370mg sod.
  • Rock Lobster Tail 170 cal, 1g fat, 540mg sod.
  • Bar Harbor Salad (Before Dressing) 200 cal, 8g fat, 160mg sod.


  • Green Beans, Fresh Asparagus, Fresh Broccoli, Garden Salad

Dressings & Dipping Sauces:

  • Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette, Pico de Gallo, Cocktail Sauce


Olive Garden Lighter Fare Menu:


  • Garlic Rosemary Chicken
  • Ravioli di Portobello
  • Capellini Pomodoro
  • Lasagna Primavera with Grilled Chicken


  • Lasagna Primavera with Grilled Chicken
  • Herb-Grilled Salmon
  • Center Cut Filet Mignon
  • Baked Tilapia with Shrimp
  • Garlic Rosemary Chicken
  • Chicken Abruzzi


LongHorn Steakhouse Flavorful Under 500 Menu:

  • Flo’s Filet® Center Cut
  • Renegade Sirloin
  • LongHorn Salmon™
  • Redrock Grilled Shrimp
  • Spinach Feta Chicken


Dining out with your kids? Here’s some quick tips from NY Magazine on a successful meal out with your little ones:

  1. Eat Early. Avoid peak times. Waiting too late could result in some grumpy attitudes.
  2. Sit In The Back. If you request an out of the way table or one towards the back, you won’t have to worry about other diners if one of your children gets cranky.
  3. Call Ahead. Ask whether the restaurant is equipped with high chairs, and if it’s a child-friendly environment. Mention that you’ll be bringing a child so that the staff is ready when you arrive. 
  4. Bring Distractions. Many restaurants have crayons for kids to draw on paper placemats with, but it doesn’t hurt to come prepared with quiet toys and books.


Remember: if you buy 3 or more tons of fuel by July 31st, you’ll receive a $50 Darden restaurants gift card! Your fuel will be delivered within three weeks of your order. (More info here)

If you want some helpful tips on how to properly store your wood pellet fuel, check out our blog: Wood Pellet Storage: Inside and Out.


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