Tips for Navigating a Restaurant Menu

Preschool & Older

Going out to eat with your family can give you a well-deserved break from cooking. Our tips will help you navigate the restaurant menu and find the best options for your family wherever you go. 

Go grilled

Meat and fish can be healthy options at most restaurants. Just be sure to choose baked, broiled or grilled when ordering chicken, turkey, fish and other lean meats. Avoid words like “crispy” or “crunchy,” which is a sneaky way to say “fried.”

Swap your sides

Skip the French fries and chips, and opt for kid-friendly choices like a side salad (dressing on the side), steamed veggies, fruit salad, apple wedges or yogurt.

Speak up

It’s okay to change a menu item if it isn’t what you want. Simple swaps can make a big difference. Trade white pasta or bread for whole wheat, order salad dressing on the side so you can control the amount and ask to swap a fried side dish for seasonal veggies.

Eat the rainbow

Encourage your kids to choose foods that make their plates bright and colorful. Think green salad and broccoli, orange carrots and sweet potatoes, purple onions, and red tomatoes and bell peppers. The more colorful the meal, the better variety of nutrients it has.

Switch your drinks

Pass on the sugary, sweetened beverages like juice, sweet tea, lemonade and soda. Instead, choose water or plain, low-fat milk with your meals.

Clean plate club

Resign from the clean plate club. Don’t make him finish a meal if he's full. Once he says he’s had enough, ask for a to-go box or leave the rest on the plate. 

Split a meal

It’s no secret that restaurant portions can be huge. Rather than overeating, save money and share an entrée with a child, friend or family member. Or, pack up the leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.