Spinach pasta with basil and feta.
Lisa M Baragiola

Dining with Healthier Choices

Making Healthy Dining Choices

One of my favorite things in St. Louis and surrounding areas is the impressive eating establishments. There are numerous privately owned restaurants with talented chefs and variety filled menus. Do you worry that leading a healthier lifestyle means an end to dining out? We’ll explore some strategies for staying on track with your current health goals while allowing you to enjoy your favorite eatery.

Navigating Menus

Thanks to the internet, you can typically find a restaurant’s menu in advance on their website. Each menu description may include the preparation method and a list of ingredients. Here is where you can make decisions that positively impact your goals. Look for descriptions such as baked, roasted, broiled, or grilled. When it comes to protein, order turkey, chicken, or fish, however if you love steak, choose the smaller portions. Try a meatless meal with plant-based chickpeas, black beans or lentils.

Pasta Dishes

Whenever possible, pick red sauce over white. Otherwise find an even lighter version tossed in olive oil and garlic. Proteins are preferably grilled shrimp, chicken, or salmon. Enhance it by selecting a pasta that includes vegetables such as asparagus or broccoli. If gluten is a problem, gluten free options are sometimes available upon request.


Balance out your meal with a vegetable and/or salad. Vegetables may be grouped under “sides” without listing preparation methods or ingredients. Ask your server for more details in case they are covered with a sauce. They are best either roasted or steamed and order salads with dressing on the side.

Other Dining Tips

Choose whole wheat, whole grain or sourdough breads for sandwiches. Be mindful of portion sizes and take advantage of to go containers. When you’re going to splurge with higher calorie items, occasionally split the entree or dessert. You may even get lucky and have the option of fresh berries or sorbet!! Happy dining. . . .

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