First off, it’s important to eat the foods that you enjoy!

However, this doesn’t mean going overboard and feeling crappy the next day. I’m not saying don’t ever get the fries or milkshake but if you eat out often or you have stomach issues, fatigue or remorse the next day, it can add up and impact your health goals. There are strategies and ways to be mindful to prevent these situations.

As a dietitian, it’s important for me to meet you where you are at. It’s not always realistic for everyone to pack a lunch, pick the healthy restaurants every time or give up some of the junky meals. I know I like to enjoy a milkshake, glass of wine and fried food every once in awhile.

So here are a few tips and ideas for when dining out


  1. Check the menu out before your go

-Download CalorieKing, MyFitnessPal, or check out the restaurant’s website


2. Swap sides or sauces out

-Ask about veggie substitutes and order sauces/dressings on the side


3. Ask the server about your options

-In the words of BK, “Have It Your Way”


4. Control portion sizes

-Have them bring your to-go box early, share a meal, order smaller option or kid’s size


5. Skip the not-so healthy things, that aren’t important to you

-Drinks, desserts, heavy sides, appetizers or sauces


6. Slow Down

-Chew your food, drink water, socialize, be mindful


7. Order first! Or take the lead when choosing where to eat

-Select a place that has healthier options you enjoy


Live in Northern Colorado?

Read: Greeley Healthyish Eating Out Options


Chain Restaurants


Burrito or Fajita Bowls skip the tortilla sub with beans (complex carb)

Salads (light on high calorie toppings)

Tacos (light on high calorie toppings)



Berry Burst Salad (dressing on the side or 1/2)

Apple Pecan Chicken Salad (dressing on the side or 1/2)

Grilled Chicken Wrap

Small Chili, Garden Salad, Apple Slices

Plain Baked Potato with Small Chili

Grilled Chicken Wrap



Anything from the Fresh Fit Menu

Any Salad with Lean Protein (dressing on the sides, light on high calorie toppings)



Egg Cheese Muffin

Grilled Nuggets with Apple Slices or Superfood Salad

Grilled Market Salad

Chicken Noodle Soup with Apple Slices or Superfood Salad

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Egg White Grill

Greek Yogurt Parfait



Thin Crust Load up on Veggies and Pair with a Salad


Jimmy Johns


½ Sandwiches (skip the chips, cookies and soda)



Grilled Chicken with Green Beans

KFC Famous Bowl Snack Size with Side Salad



Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad (dressing on the side)

Single Hamburger

Grilled Ranch Snack Wrap



Grilled Chicken Salad, Wrap, Sandwich (skip the fries, soda)


Burger King

Single Hamburger with Garden Side Salad

BK Veggie Burger or 6 Chicken Nuggets on Salad

Tender Chicken Garden Salad


Panda Express

Broccoli Chicken, Beef Broccoli, Chicken Teriyaki with Veggies


Buffalo Wild Wings

Snack Size of the Traditional Wings and Load Up on Carrots and Celery

Naked Tenders with Veggie Sticks

Grilled Chicken Wrap with Tomato Cucumber Salad or Garden Salad


Carl’s Jr.

Lettuce Wrap Burger or Grilled Chicken

Single Burger or Grilled Chicken Burger



Guiltless Grill Menu



Soups- Broth Based, Veggies, Lean Protein

Avocado, Egg White and Spinach Sandwich

Salads (dressing on side, light on high calorie toppings)

½ Sandwiches, Load up on Veggies and Lean Protein



Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Egg White Breakfast Sandwich

Egg Bites

Spinach Egg White Wrap

Protein Boxes




6-Inch Subs with Veggies and Lean Protein (skip the chips, cookies and soda)


Taco Bell

Fresco Style Crunchy Tacos

Grilled Chicken Salad



Fitfare Menu

Loaded Veggie Omelet



Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad

Classic Roast Beef Sandwich



Light Fare Menu


Cracker Barrel

Chicken, Crusted Fish with Veggies on the Side


Five Guys

Burger Load Up on Veggie Toppings


Golden Corral

Load the Plate up with Veggies (think about what food options are important, don’t waste calories on foods that aren’t great)


Olive Garden

Light Menu

Grilled Salmon with Veggies

Order a Side or Kids Serving of Pasta, Add Veggies and Lean Protein


Outback/Texas Roadhouse

Lean 6oz Steak, Chicken or Grilled Shrimp with Veggies and Plain Sweet Potato


P.F Changs

Buddha Feast

Half these entrees:

Asian Grilled Salmon or Steamed Salmon

Lemon Chicken or Scallops

Chang’s Spicy Chicken

Orange Peel Beef

Hong Kong Beef


Red Lobster

Lighterfare Menu

Half Order of your Favorite Seafood, Broiled with a Veggie Side


Red Robin

Salads (dressing on side)

Lettuce Wrap or Open Faced Burger (change out sides, light on sauces/cheese/toppings)


Tokyo Joe’s

Bowls/Boxes: Lean Protein, Veggies, Light on Carb (rice/noodles)

Salads (dressing on side)

½ Sushi Rolls