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Your Best Health: Adult Weight Management

Eating Away From Home

In the last week, did you eat away from home (this includes any food you didn’t make at home, including restaurant food, fast food, and take-out foods)?

If ‘yes’, how many times did you eat away from home in the last week?

Eating away from home is a normal part of our lives, but it can be a challenge.

Restaurant food is often higher in fat, salt, and/or calories. Portions are larger than 1 person needs. It’s harder to make healthy choices and eat smaller portions when you eat meals that aren’t made at home. When you eat away from home, have a plan to make healthier choices.

If you do eat out, you may choose to set a goal to reduce how often you eat out. One tip to help reduce portions and calories is to limit eating out to 02 times each week. If this is a tip you’d like to try, you can take small steps to reduce how often you eat out.

I was eating out 15 times a week. That surprised me when I added it up! Just by packing my lunch I lowered my number to 12 times this week.

Here are some ideas that people have found helped when eating away from home.

I found that many restaurants have the nutrition information on their website. It makes me aware of how many calories, fat, sugar or salt is in the food. So before I go, I make a plan for what I am going to order.
We share an entree — it’s enough for 2 and it saves us money and calories.
I ask the server for half the meal to be packed so I can take it home for another meal.
At events, the meals are often a buffet. The 2 things that have helped me are to look at all the items before I make my choice and choose a smaller plate.

If eating away from home is an area that you would like to work on, write down your ideas that may work for you.

Record what you eat and drink.

People who use a journal to keep track of their food and drink are more likely to make changes that last. In your daily journal write down what and how much you eat and drink. You can record your progress on paper, or use a phone, computer or tablet. Here's an example that you may find useful.

Use this 3 Day Food Journal handout to help you get started.

Review

There’s a lot to learn about healthy eating to manage weight and health.

  • Healthy eating is not just about what you eat, but also about how much and when.
  • Choose 3 meals plus 1 or 2 snacks each day, including breakfast.
  • Aim for smaller portions and a Healthy Plate at every meal.
  • Avoid drinks with calories (except skim and/or 1% milk).
  • Use the 4 P’s to help make healthy eating easier (plan, purchase, prepare, pack).
  • Limit eating out to 0-2 times each week. Make a plan when eating out.
  • Record what you eat and drink
  • Think about setting goals for healthier eating

This section includes lifestyle choices that can help you eat well for your weight and health. Change can be hard. It can be overwhelming to try to do too many things at once. When you’re ready, setting goals can help. You can use this: Getting Started: Setting Smart Goals.

If you would like more support with eating well for your weight and health, come to one of the nutrition group workshops led by a registered dietitian. See the resources section for more information.