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Going out to eat is a fun family event.  With busy working parents, eating out is sometimes a necessity.  And restaurants offer another opportunity for parents to teach children about healthy food choices and portion size control.

With a few tips under your belt, you can guide your family to make healthier choices when you go to a restaurant or fast food place.  

Here are some eating out tips to help you and your family enjoy a fun but healthy experience with
  • helpful substition tips to make your meal healthier
  • some strategies on control portion sizes that are often too big for adults let alone children
  • have an enjoyable and healthy experience

List of Tips To Help Children and Families Make Healthier Food Choices and Control Portions When Eating Out In A Restaurant

  1. When you are eating out, agree on at least 1 healthy substitution with your child
  2. Choose lean meats such as chicken breast, lean ham or roast beef, instead of salami or bacon.
  3. Avoid foods that are breaded and deep-fried. They are high in fat and calories.
  4. Talk to your child before ordering a meal and give them a choice of milk, 100% juice or water instead of soda.
  5. Choose baked chips or pretzels instead of regular potato chips.
  6. Show your child how to make healthy choices when you are on the run.
  7. At restaurants, say no to the bread and the chips.
  8. Most restaurant entrees are enough for two people to eat. Order the regular size and split the order and share it.
  9. When planning an outing to the zoo or park, pack up washed nectarines, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and water.
  10. Watch out for these high fat words: battered, bottomless, breaded, buttery, cheesy, creamy, crispy and fried.
  11. Black beans are a better choice because they have less fat than refried beans
  12. Choose grilled soft tacos or burritos instead of a crispy shell or gordita-type burritos
  13. Ask for 100% whole wheat bread for sandwiches. Skip the higher fat, lower fiber croissants and biscuits
  14. Choose water, milk or 100% fruit juice instead of soda
  15. Drink nonfat or low fat milk or water instead of whole milk
  16. Steamed brown rice has more nutrients and fewer calories than fried rice.
  17. Be careful of restaurants salads they can contain 1000 calories.
  18. Steamed brown rice has more nutrients and less calories than fried rice
  19. Choose a regular, single patty hamburger without cheese and mayonnaise
  20. Order prepared foods steamed, broiled, grilled, poached, or roasted- not fried
  21. Sauces such as low sodium soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, wasabi, or ginger are better choices than sweet and sour sauce or coconut milk
  22. Avoid foods with the words jumbo, giant, super sized or deluxe in the name.
  23. Let your child know that they can ask for food items prepared a specific way to make a meal healthier.
  24. Use salsa and mustard instead of mayonnaise
  25. Stir fried, steamed, roasted or broiled dishes are healthier choices than battered or deep fried.
  26. Minimize the use of gravy, sauces and dressings; have them served on the side
  27. Ask for fruit instead of fries or chips
  28. Don’t be shy about making healthy substitutions even in Kids Fun Meals (usually comes with a toy)
  29. Avoid ordering extra large portions just because they are a deal
  30. Ask for child’s size, even for á la Carte items
  31. Talk to your child before ordering a meal so that substitutions are already agreed upon
  32. Add low fat salad dressings instead of special sauces or mayonnaise
  33. Ahhh, the Mexican condiments! Salsa is low in calories and fat and it makes a great substitute for sour cream, guacamole and cheese
  34. Order salads with ‘lite’ or non-fat dressing instead of regular dressing
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