Restaurant Eating Tips

Eating out while maintaining a heart-healthy diet can be especially challenging. Most restaurants don’t publish nutrition information, and meals are often incredibly high in saturated fat and sodium… sometimes more than the entire recommended Daily Value for a single meal!

Reading the Menu

When you’re eating in a new restaurant and they don’t provide nutrition info, you can make good choices by carefully reading the menu.

Avoid TheseLook for These
pan-fried
crispy
dipped
scalloped
breaded
cream
alfredo
crusted or breaded
grilled
seared
steamed
baked
roasted
braised
broiled
raw

Steaks

When eating at a steakhouse, some cuts are usually healthier (lower fat) than others. However, seasonings can add a lot of sodium, and sauces can add both sodium and saturated fat. Be sure to check the restaurant’s nutrition info, or ask how the steak is prepared.

Unhealthy CutsHealthier Cuts
Skirt Steak
Ribeye
T-Bone
Prime Rib
Tri-Tip
Sirloin, Top Sirloin
Filet Mignon
New York Strip

And Other Dishes

Sauces and spice rubs are usually very high in sodium. Plain grilled fish and poultry are usually safe choices.

Sides may include steamed vegetables, or a baked potato with sour cream (be careful, because restaurants may salt the skin of the potato).

Ask for Help!

Let your server know if you’re on a low-sodium diet! Ask if there are any low-salt options they would recommend, or if it’s possible to leave out the salt while preparing dishes.

Here’s a tip: if you know in advance you’ll be eating at a new restaurant – especially a local (non-chain) restaurant – email them a few days in advance and ask for advice. We’ve gotten some amazing responses for restaurant owners a chefs… even a few offers to custom prepare low-sodium meals!

Recommendations

Don’t forget to check our recommendations for the best heart-healthy meal choices at popular restaurants.