Eating Foods Away from Home

Consider your drink

Choose water, fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, and other drinks without added sugars to complement your meal.

Savor a salad

Start your meal with a salad packed with vegetables to help you feel satisfied sooner. Ask for dressing on the side and use a small amount of it.

Share a main dish

Divide a main entree between family and friends. Ask for small plates for everyone at the table.

Select from the sides

Order a side dish or an appetizer-sized portion instead of a regular entree. They’re usually served on smaller plates and in smaller amounts.

Pack your snack

Pack fruit, sliced vegetables, low-fat string cheese, or unsalted nuts to eat during road trips or long commutes. No need to stop for other food when these snacks are ready-to-eat.

Fill your plate with vegetables and fruit

Stir-fries, kabobs, or vegetarian menu items usually have more vegetables. Select fruits as a side dish or dessert.

Compare the calories, fat, and sodium

Many menus now include nutrition information. Look for items that are lower in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Check with your server if you don’t see them on the menu.

Pass on the buffet

Have an item from the menu and avoid the “all-you-can-eat” buffet. Steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes have fewer calories than foods that are fried in oil or cooked in butter.

Get your whole grains

Request 100% whole-wheat breads, rolls, and pasta when choosing sandwiches, burgers, or main dishes.

Quit the "clean your plate" club

Decide to save some for another meal. Take leftovers home in a container and chill in the refrigerator right away.

Adapted from the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion’s ChooseMyPlate.gov Web site.