Simple Swaps to Make Your Restaurant Meal the Real (Healthy) Deal

Learning how to find the healthiest option at a restaurant can be challenging, so we've created this guide to help manage your prediabetes!
Simple Swaps to Make Your Restaurant Meal the Real (Healthy) Deal
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

This Lark DPP mission has been about ordering restaurant meals that can be right in line with your healthy menu to lower diabetes risk. Looking for protein and vegetables on the menu, keeping an eye out for high-calorie appetizers and drinks, and checking the nutritional content ahead of time can all help.

This check-in brought up another strategy: asking the server or cook to swap a few ingredients.

These are a few ideas for special orders or swaps to request when ordering.

  • Leave the croutons, crispy noodles, or chips off the salad.
  • Serve the dressing or sauce on the side.
  • Substitute grilled or baked fish, chicken, or shrimp for fried or crispy on salads, sandwiches, and main courses.
  • Serve sauces on the side or skip buttery and creamy sauces.
  • Serve brown rice or whole-grain pasta instead of white.
  • Substitute vegetables, fresh fruit, or a side salad for french fries, mashed potatoes, pasta, or rice as a side.
  • Use mustard instead of mayo on sandwiches.
  • Ask for vegetables to be steamed or roasted, not fried or sauteed in butter, au gratin, or tempura.
  • Ask for a thin crust pizza or open-faced sandwich to cut carbs.
  • Ask for egg whites instead of whole eggs.
  • Serve dried fruit, brown sugar, and other toppings on the side when ordering oatmeal.

With these and other swaps, any restaurant meal can become a winning one for your health and waistline, not to mention taste buds. Since you are the customer, you are entirely in the right when you ask for exactly what you want when you order. See how good you may feel when you are confident that any restaurant meal can be a great one!