Looking to lead a stronger, healthier life?
Sign up for our Wellness Wire newsletter for all sorts of nutrition, fitness, and wellness wisdom.

Now we’re in this together.
Thanks for subscribing and having us along on your health and wellness journey.

See all Healthline's newsletters »
Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

See all posts »

Deciphering the Menu: How to Choose the Right Foods

Healthy couple eating outEating out can be a lot of fun, but when trying to stick to a diet or trying to eat healthy, it can sometimes be a challenge. Deciphering a menu can often be difficult with the large array of choices that often presents itself to us.

The name or description of a plate can say a lot about the nutrition facts and health level. By discovering and learning key words or phrases on a menu, you can save yourself from sabotaging your diet as well as the stress of finding something good for you. Find out which key words to choose from for the healthiest choices and limit the "instead of" options as much as possible which often signify high unhealthy fat content and calories.


  • Steamed instead of Au Gratin
  • Broiled instead of Crispy or Crunchy
  • Baked instead of Fried or Pan Fried
  • Grilled instead of Breaded
  • Poached instead of Gooey or Cheesy
  • Roasted instead of Alfredo
  • Rubbed instead of Buttered
  • Seared instead of Creamed
  • Spiced instead of Battered
  • Seasoned instead of Honey Dipped
  • Fresh instead of Glazed

Here are some other tips to help you save calories and prevent you from over eating when you are at a restaurant.

  • Have a salad with light or fat free dressing to start
  • Ask for dressing and sauces on the side
  • Skip the bread basket
  • Split a meal with a friend
  • Ask for a To-Go box right away and pack half of your meal away before you even start.  Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Stop when you feel satisfied, not over full
  • Drink one to two glasses of water before and with your meal
  • 1

Tags: Restaurant Nutrition

Was this article helpful? Yes No

Recommended for You


About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

Recent Blog Posts