Healthy Food Substitutions When Eating Out

By Mindy Probst

We all like to go out to eat every now and then. Here are some tips to help you choose healthier dishes at your favorite restaurants.

healthierfoods
When you are in the mood for a big breakfast at McDonald's, try to build your own from their healthier choices instead of choosing their Big Breakfast deal.
 
The Big Breakfast with Hotcakes (includes biscuit, sausage, hash brown, egg and pancakes) has 1090 calories and 56 grams fat.
 
Instead try some of these options:
  • Egg McMuffin: 287 calories, 12 grams fat
  • Fruit & yogurt parfait: 128 calories, 1.6 grams fat
  • Fruit & Maple Oatmeal (without cream): 270 calories, 2.5 grams fat
If you are craving something sweet, try to watch your portion size.
  • 20-ounce chocolate shake: 627 calories, 18 grams fat
  • 16-ounce chocolate shake: 478 calories, 14 grams fat
  • 12-ounce chocolate shake: 358 calories, 10 grams fat
When eating at your favorite restaurants, soups may be a low-calorie option. Look for soups made with a broth base instead of a milk or cream base.
 

Olive Garden Soups:

  • Minestrone: 100 calories, 1 gram fat
  • Pasta e Fagioli: 130 calories, 2.5 grams fat
Try to look for their “healthy” or “light” menu options.
  • Compare the Tuscan Garlic Chicken: 1050 calories, 58 grams fat, to the lunch portion of the Venetian Apricot Chicken: 290 calories, 4.5 grams fat.
When picking out side dishes, look for “steamed”, “grilled” or “fresh”. Take Outback Steak House for example.
  • Grilled Asparagus: 52 calories, 4 grams fat
  • Steamed Green Beans: 55 calories, 3 grams fat
  • Fresh seasonal mixed veggies: 96 calories, 3 grams fat
Compared to:
  • Garlic mashed potatoes- 305 calories, 17 grams fat
  • Sweet potato with toppings- 465 calories, 16 grams fat
  • Dressed baked potato- 330 calories, 11 grams fat
As you can see, there are plenty of great (and tasty) options available at popular restaurants. Making healthy nutrition choices is all about knowing the options available and selecting the best option for your health needs.