Cutting back while dining out tips

By Shakera Williams

In today’s busy world, Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories from foods prepared away from home. Eating out can be convenient and fun, but it can be challenging when you want to make healthy choices. Enjoy these five simple tips to cut back while dining out. 

1. Request for your meal to be prepared how you like it. Ask for your dish to be prepared without added salt.

2. Always taste food before adding salt from the saltshaker. If extra flavor is needed, try adding black pepper or lemon juice. 

3.  Request vegetables with no salt added or fruit as your side item.

4.  Watch out for these food words, such as  pickled, brined, barbecued, cured, smoked, broth, au jus, soy sauce, miso, or teriyaki sauce. These tend to be very high in sodium. Choose items that are steamed, baked, grilled, poached, or roasted, they may have less sodium.

5.  Ask if smaller portions are available; if not, share a meal with a family member or friend, or ask for a to-go box when you order and place half of your meal in the box before eating.

(Shakera Williams, M.P.H., is assistant FCS Nutrition Extension Agent for Webster/Claiborne Parish, LSU Ag Center.)