Eating out at restaurants can be a delightful experience, offering the chance to savor delicious food in good company. However, restaurant meals can often be high in calories, unhealthy fats, sodium, and sugars, which may pose a challenge for those aiming to eat healthily. With a few thoughtful choices and strategies, you can maintain your health goals while enjoying the pleasures of dining out.

12 Tips to Eat Healthy at Restaurants

Forget about stressing over overwhelming menus! These tips are your secret weapon for making informed, healthy choices that align with your goals.  Think of them as your personal toolkit for building a satisfying and nutritious restaurant meal, one step at a time.


  1. Plan Ahead:
    • Research the Menu: Look up the restaurant’s menu online before visiting to identify healthy options and understand the ingredients and preparation methods. This can help you avoid impulsive, high-calorie choices and steer towards nutrient-rich dishes.
    • Check for Special Requests: Many restaurants allow customers to customize their meals. Look for options to swap out certain ingredients for healthier choices.
  2. Start with a Salad:
    • Boost Your Vegetable Intake: Starting with a fresh salad loaded with greens and colorful vegetables can increase your fiber and nutrient intake.
    • Choose Light Dressings: Opt for vinaigrette or lemon-based dressings instead of creamy dressings to keep calories in check.
  3. Choose Grilled, Baked, or Steamed Dishes:
    • Avoid Frying: Fried foods are often high in unhealthy fats and calories. Instead, opt for grilled, baked, or steamed options for a lighter, healthier meal.
    • Explore Global Cuisine: Many international cuisines, such as Mediterranean or Asian, offer healthy grilled or steamed options with bold flavors.
  4. Watch Portion Sizes:
    • Share a Dish: Consider sharing a dish with a dining partner or requesting a half portion to avoid overeating.
    • Save for Later: Request a to-go box at the start of the meal and save half of your entrée for later.
  5. Select Whole Grains:
    • Choose Whole-Wheat Options: Whole grains provide more fiber and nutrients compared to refined grains. Look for whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, or quinoa on the menu.
    • Try Alternatives: If whole grains are not available, ask your server about other healthy alternatives such as lentils or farro.
  6. Limit High-Calorie Beverages:
    • Choose Hydration Wisely: Opt for water, unsweetened tea, or sparkling water over sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages.
    • Add Flavor: Enhance your drink with lemon, lime, or fresh herbs for a refreshing twist without added calories.
  7. Ask for Sauces and Dressings on the Side:
    • Control Your Portions: Requesting sauces and dressings on the side allows you to manage your intake and prevent overpowering the natural flavors of the dish.
    • Experiment with Flavors: Use sauces and dressings sparingly to taste and find the right balance of flavor.
  8. Be Mindful of Fried Foods:
    • Opt for Grilled or Roasted: Fried foods can contain excessive unhealthy fats and calories. Choose grilled or roasted options instead.
    • Ask for Substitutions: Inquire about alternatives to fried foods, such as grilled or steamed options, to keep your meal healthier.
  9. .Choose Lean Proteins:
    • Stick to Low-Fat Proteins: Lean proteins such as chicken, fish, or tofu are healthier options compared to fatty cuts of meat.
    • Explore Seafood Options: Fish and seafood are excellent sources of lean protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
  10. Be Wary of Extras:
    • Skip Unnecessary Sides: Extras like bread baskets, chips, or heavy appetizers can add unnecessary calories. Opt for steamed vegetables or a side salad instead.
    • Keep an Eye on Cheese: Cheese can add extra fat and calories. Choose lighter cheese options or limit the amount.
  11. Choose Fruits for Dessert:
    • End on a Sweet Note: Fresh fruits offer natural sweetness and a healthier option compared to sugar-laden desserts.
    • Mix It Up: Try a fruit salad or a bowl of mixed berries for a refreshing and light dessert.
       12. Ask Questions:
  • Inquire About Preparations: Ask your server how dishes are prepared and if there are healthy substitutions available, such as steaming instead of sautéing vegetables.
  • Customize Your Order: Don’t hesitate to request modifications to make your meal healthier, such as removing high-calorie sauces or opting for lighter dressings.


Legno Chicago: Best Restaurant in Chicago

When it comes to dining out in Chicago, Legno Chicago stands out as one of the best restaurants for health-conscious diners. Legno’s Italian-inspired menu showcases a commitment to fresh, high-quality ingredients and innovative culinary techniques.

We offer a variety of healthy options such as whole-grain pasta dishes, grilled seafood, and flavorful vegetable sides. These choices cater to diverse dietary preferences, including vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Legno’s emphasis on locally sourced ingredients ensures freshness and sustainability, making it an excellent choice for those looking for delicious yet healthful meals. For example, you can enjoy a hearty grilled salmon with a side of roasted vegetables and whole-grain couscous.



Eating healthy at restaurants is achievable with thoughtful planning and smart decision-making. By following the tips outlined above, you can enjoy your dining experience while staying on track with your health goals. For an outstanding dining experience that offers a variety of healthy choices, Legno Chicago is a top choice. Visit our dinner menu page to explore our menu and make a reservation for a memorable and nutritious meal.