Healthy Eating Away From Home

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Because of our hurried schedules, most of us dine out at least once a week. This may be grabbing a sandwich from the grocery deli counter for lunch, ordering take-out for nights, or treating yourself to a special meal at a favorite restaurant. That’s why eating dishes made away from home is a way of life for many individuals. Making healthy choices is possible and crucial in restaurants, takeout counters, vending machines, and corner stores. A nutritious diet combined with regular physical activity can help prevent or postpone the onset of diabetes or its consequences. 

Today, we’ll give you some suggestions to help you enjoy nutritious foods and meals no matter where you are.

Factors of Away-From-Home Foodstuffs That Cause Excessive Consumption 

Eating out at a restaurant might be perceived as a special occasion for indulging. Furthermore, the sociable environment associated with restaurants, as well as alcohol use, may lead to overconsumption.

Energy Density Is High

When dining out, people have the propensity to select items with a greater energy density. The quantity of calories like energy contained in a unit of food (e.g., kcal/g) is referred to as energy density. Those with a high energy density give a relatively large amount of calories per unit weight, whereas foods with a low energy density supply fewer calories per unit weight. Heavy energy-dense diets are often high in fat and include few nutrients with high moisture content, such as fruits and veggies.

Bigger Portion Sizes 

Another component of away-from-home meals that may promote consumption is the availability of huge serving sizes. Large servings are becoming more popular in restaurants, supermarkets, and vending machines.

(Source: CDC)

Research conducted in a cafeteria-style restaurant investigated whether raising the portion size of a main-entrée pasta dish from 248 grams (standard amount, 422 kcal) to 377 grams (large portion, 633 kcal), while keeping the price same, would affect how much individuals ate. When compared to the standard-sized dish, customers consumed much more of the meal when offered the big entrée.

Including Out-of-Home Meals In A Healthy Eating Plan

Making healthy choices while dining out might help you control your weight when paired with regular physical exercise.

Make Healthy Food Selections Based on Singapore’s Food Guide

Choose foods that are high inChoose foods that are low in 
– Decrease the rise in blood sugar, aids in the improvement of cholesterol levels, and make you feel full.
– Select veggies, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.
– More calories; may make blood sugar and fat regulation difficult.
– Limit your intake of ordinary soda, fruit drinks, sweets, and desserts.
Vitamins and minerals
– Maintain the body healthily and infection-free
– Choose colorful veggies over fries, milk over soda, and full-grain bread over white bread.
– May result in elevated blood pressure
– Limit your intake of fast food, canned/dried soups, salty snacks, and prepared freezer entrees.

Apply The Plate Method When Eating Out 

Source: Harvard T.H. CHAN

Use the Healthy Eating Plate as a guide to preparing nutritious, well-balanced meals, whether they are served at the table or carried in a lunch box. 

  • Make veggies and fruits the majority of your meal – 12 of your plate. Aim for color and diversity, and keep in mind that potatoes do not count as vegetables on the Healthy Eating Plate due to their blood sugar impact.
  • Choose whole grains for 14 percent of your dish. Whole and intact grains—whole wheat, barley, wheat berries, quinoa, oats, brown rice, and meals produced with them, such as whole wheat pasta—have a gentler effect on blood sugar and insulin than refined grains such as white bread and white rice.
  • 1/4 of your plate should be devoted to protein. Fish, chicken, beans, and nuts are all good sources of protein that may be incorporated into salads and paired with vegetables on a platter. Limit red meat and stay away from processed meats like bacon and sausage.
  • Plant oils are beneficial in moderation. Avoid partly hydrogenated oils, which contain dangerous trans fats, and instead use healthy vegetable oils such as olive, canola, soy, maize, sunflower, peanut, and others. Keep in mind that “low-fat” does not imply “healthy.”
  • Consume water, coffee, or tea. Limit sugary beverages to one to two servings per day, milk and dairy products to one to two servings per day, and juice to one small glass per day.
  • Continue to be active.

Overcome The Difficulties of Choosing Healthy Meal Choices While You’re Not At Home

It’s not always easy to strictly follow your plan as there’re too many temptations out there. Let’s see some possible solutions to common situations that you might face in reality. 

Challenges Solutions 
The portions are very large.– Before making your selection, consider portion size (avoid “super-sizing”).
– Order half servings or share an item with a buddy.
– Stop eating when you’re full; bring leftovers home.
Cooking and serving methods that are unhealthy.– Request that your choice is prepared differently (e.g., baked rather than fried).
– Request sauces on the side and use them sparingly.
– Request alternatives such as salad vs. fries; milk instead of cream.
My family and friends frequently make unhealthy dietary choices.– Set a good example by becoming a healthy role model.
– Discuss and select a venue that provides healthy alternatives.
Buffets that are “all-you-can-eat” are appealing.– Scan the buffet before making your selections. Only go through the buffet line once.
– Take lesser servings of each dish.
– Order from the menu rather than heading to the buffet.
There are only a few options available. – Bring sandwiches, nuts, washed, pre-cut veggies, and fruit from home.
– Consider all choices before making a decision.

To Conclude 

Bear in mind that one of the most crucial aspects of living a healthy lifestyle is eating a balanced diet. It guarantees that our bodies receive the necessary minerals and vitamins, preventing the formation of illnesses and ailments. If you need help from experts, consult a dietitian


Division of Nutrition, physical activity, obesity (DNPAO) (2022) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: (Accessed: January 15, 2023).

Tips for healthy eating away from home (2018) Harvard Health. Available at:,dishes%20prepared%20with%20heavy%20sauces. (Accessed: January 15, 2023).

Managing your blood sugar – diabetes Canada (no date). Available at: (Accessed: January 15, 2023).

Healthy Eating Plate (2021) The Nutrition Source. Available at: (Accessed: January 15, 2023). 

About The Contributor 

CiCi Nguyen is a digital marketer and SEO specialist for B2B SaaS businesses and the healthcare industry, assisting firms in increasing their exposure, search ranks, and organic traffic.

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