CommunityBrowse groupsBlogEtiquetteInvite Your friendsSuccess Stories


eating out: favorite low calorie/healthy meal?

i have a hard time picking low calorie and healthy meals for take out or dining out (not that i do it often, i prefer cooking my own meals most of the time.. but can't always do that)

so, i was just curious what everyones favorite meal for take-out and/or dining out is.

Fri. Apr 18, 11:26am

Add comment  
When I eat out or get take out, I find that usually the portions are a lot larger than what you really need to eat. Set aside half for another meal. My favorite low-cal meal is grilled salmon and veggies. Any grilled fish, shrimp or veggies will be low calorie (assuming it isn't covered in some kind of sauce. If there is sauce, ask for it on the side). Grilled chicken is fairly low-calorie too. Always get steamed or grilled veggies as your side, not french fries. If you really want potato, a plain baked potato (no butter or sour cream) will only be about 100 calories.

Friday, April 18, 2008, 11:33 AM

Add comment
3 options

In my experience you really only have three options:

1. entree salad - no dressing

2. split an entree with whoever you are with

3. eat half of whatever it is and save the rest

dinners out are usually like 1 million calories not counting the chips and salsa or free bread or whatever - just watch out there!

I know people probably have actual ideas, but that is where I am at...

Friday, April 18, 2008, 11:58 AM

Add comment
I usually go for the sirloin (grilled med-rare, no butter), salad (vinagarette on the side) and steamed veggies. The steak is generally 8 oz so I eat either half or 3/4 depending on how hungry I am and how much protein I got during the day.

The one thing I pretty much never order in restaurants is pasta. I can have it at home where I can control the sauce and portion size and fill it out with veggies, but restaurant portions are just incredibly bloated when it comes to pasta.

Friday, April 18, 2008, 12:10 PM

Add comment
My boyfriend and I eat out a lot. it is a diet nightmare, but its part of our lifestyle and i am trying to lose weight while still enjoying my life.
im a vegetarian so these are all veggie options - but those tend to be your best low cal options anyways when you eat out.

ASIAN i get anything w/ tofu and veggies - just watch out for what kind of sauce is on there.
SPORTS BAR/CASUAL i go for veggie wraps or veggie chili
ITALIAN - i usually do a pasta primavera with marinara (eat 1/3 portion) and then order a salad before with oil and vinegar - watch for cheese and crutons.
luckily i live in a town known for being health conscious so there are almost always great options - i dont know what i would do if i lived in the midwest or south.

Friday, April 18, 2008, 12:14 PM

Add comment
oh yea - i love MEXICAN - fajitias but only eat 1 or 2 of the tortillas and then if i am still hungry just eat the other stuff sans tortilla

Friday, April 18, 2008, 12:15 PM

Add comment
Big salad, and I get them to bring me a small bowl of olive oil and vinegar together, that way you control how much, and you are getting heart healthy olive oil.

Friday, April 18, 2008, 1:10 PM

Add comment
What I order depends upon my mood. Sometimes I order what I want and only take a few bites - and b/c it's usually so much more rich than what I would normally order a few bites is all I need. Then I take the rest home and eat it over several meals.

Or I order the grilled fish and plain vegetables, and even then, I rarely eat more than 1/2.

If we do take out pizza, I'll eat one piece and make my own big salad.

Something disturbing that came out in Men's Health - the calorie friendly meals in some of restaurants like Chili's or Macaroni Grill - have a boat load of sodium. At Macaroni Grill, they have a salmon dish with 3,000+ mg of sodium. One of the dishes had 7,000 mg of sodium. Yikes. Sheesh - if it's not one things it's something else.

Friday, April 18, 2008, 2:15 PM

Add comment
This has worked for me: order a salad as an appetizer, and carefully control the dressing. then order a grilled fish (and whatever it comes with) and, if possible, take some home. The real problem for me is the bread and butter or other munchies that are put on the table.
If there isn't a nice fish to order for a main course, another option may be to order an appetizer as a main course. Then I usually finish the portion (it IS smaller) but I pay less and get something reasonable.
It takes discipline, but then losing weight (for me) is about being disciplined in what I put in my mouth, all the time.

Sunday, April 20, 2008, 10:40 AM

Add comment
Veggie burger (can order w/o bun)
Fajitas (tofu or chicken)
"Market Salad" at Cheesecake Factory is like three salad portions
Baked potato - plain, then top how you want to. I can do one with a dash of salt and a little olive oil

You can always have the chef special make you a large portion of grilled or steamed veggies and have them prepare with minimal oil

Ask for ALL sauces on the side - some sauce has 100 calories in 1/4 cup

Sunday, April 20, 2008, 1:36 PM

Add comment
veggie stir fry, without the extra sauces and definitely hold the rice if it's plain white, but if it's brown or wild they can serve it in a separate dish on the side

dinner size salad with dressing on the side (just veggies, no meats that probably have nitrites, nitrates, msg, etc. in them -- but sliced egg is ok; and dip the fork in the dressing first, then spear a veg)

baked or broiled fish filet with a side salad (dressing on the side, or spritz with the lemon that comes with the fish)

I always drink just water or unsweetened ice tea with lemon. And I never eat their breads, because almost all commercial breads use too much sugar and possibly high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. You can't ask the servers about these things because they never know. So I just don't eat them.

Sunday, April 20, 2008, 3:11 PM

Add comment
the most important thing is that you watch the sauces and portion sizes. if you aren't eating out often then treating yourself to something tasty is not going to set you back another 10 pounds. but most places do add a lot of sauces and the portions are always huge and most people eat with their eyes reather than their tummies.

you can always also ask to see fact sheets on the foot, every restaurant is required to have that information available to the customers. make sure you look closely as well. i work at a restaurant right now, and when people look at the fact sheet they dont always take into consideration that everything is seperate. while they go "oh, only 300-something calories for a small rice box!" they aren't realizing that doesnt include the two scoops of ssauce (which is anywhere from 50-120 calories per scoop at the place i work) and when they want extra this and extra that...

Sunday, April 20, 2008, 4:34 PM

Add comment
Not implying a bit of a binge...

But, to lessen the demage
Mexican: like maybe 3 chips w/salsa, nopalitos (cactus appetizer) w 2 corn tortillas, margarita, and a couple of big bites of flan.

I get the flavor, the drinkie and dessert, without gaining :)
If I had to eat flavorless fish or chicken I would not be satisfied, but that is just my need for spicy

Sunday, April 20, 2008, 5:28 PM

Add comment
Great Place for Restaurant Meals

There are over 400 meals listed at that are not over sized. But I agree with most posters here, you need to at least 1/2 any sit down restaurant meal to be even close to an acceptable calorie level.


Saturday, May 23, 2009, 11:20 PM

Add comment
11:20 - that info is great. Although, people still need to do a little research. For example, PF Changs' Chicken Lettuce Wraps got the favorable green check mark which, among other things, means it's considerably lower than 500 cals, BUT an order of Chicken Lettuce Wraps has 4 servings = almost 1300 calories for the dish! I know my friends have ordered and eaten that as their main meal, thinking it was a 'good' choice. Oops.

Sunday, May 24, 2009, 9:52 AM

Add comment
PF Changs Lettuce Wraps are a favorite of ours at PEERtrainer HQ!

When you eat out and you want to eat healthy and low calorie, the single best thing to go for are salads and vegetable sides.

You'd be amazed at how tasty and cheap the sauteed spinach is at PF Changs. They have two sizes, and are just huge. You need to usually ask them to go easy on the salt.

For those of you following the Cheat System, a huge side of greens often gets you close to an 8oz serving, which we want people to try and hit every day.

If you have not yet downloaded the PDF outlining how this system works, you can do so from this blog post:

The download is free.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011, 2:06 PM

Add comment

Related Content:

How To Lose Weight- The Basics
Weight Watchers Points System
The Fat Smash Diet
The Eat To Live Diet
The Beck Diet Solution
How To Get The Motivation To Lose Weight


How To Be Successful Using PEERtrainer

How To Burn Fat
Online Weight Loss Support- How It Works
Does Green Tea Help You Lose Weight?
Tips On Using PEERtrainer
Visit The PEERtrainer Community
Diet and Fitness Resources


Weight Watchers Meetings
Learning To Inspire Others: You Already Are
Writing Down Your Daily Workouts
Spending Money On A Personal Trainer?
How I Became A Marathon Runner


Preventive Health

How To Prevent Injuries During Your Workout
Flu Season: Should You Take The Flu Shot?
Are You Really Ready To Start PEERtrainer?
Super Foods That Can Boost Your Energy
Reversing Disease Through Nutrition

New Diet and Fitness Articles:

Weight Watchers Points Plus
How To Adjust Your Body To Exercise
New: Weight Watchers Momentum Program
New: PEERtrainer Blog Archive
Review Of The New Weight Watchers Momentum Program

Weight Loss Motivation by Joshua Wayne:

Why Simple Goal Setting Is Not Enough
How To Delay Short Term Gratification
How To Stay Motivated
How To Exercise With A Busy Schedule

Real World Nutrition and Fitness Questions

Can Weight Lifting Help You Lose Weight?
Are Protein Drinks Safe?
Nutrition As Medicine?

Everyday Weight Loss Tips

How To Eat Healthy At A Party
How To Eat Out And Still Lose Weight
The Three Bite Rule
Tips On How To Stop A Binge