Older Adults Eating Out?
The important key is to choose foods low in fat, sugar, and sodium. Choose simple dishes, not casseroles, creamed or fried foods, or breaded foods, gravy, and rich desserts. Emphasize fresh fruits and vegetables and look for dishes in the light meals or healthy meals section from the menu. It is better to choose entrees prepared individually, such as baked chicken breasts, fish or lean beef because you can ask to take out extras like butter, fat, sugar, or salt. Or you can ask to have broiled, grilled, baked, steamed or poached fish or poultry. If fried meat is the only choice, remove the skin or breading.
Some restaurants provide a larger quantity meal which is too much for one individual. In this situation, you might ask for an extra plate and split parts of the meal with a companion. If you want to have buffet, be sure to control food quantity because over eating is not good for your health.
Selecting a restaurant also is important. For instance, you need to choose a place where you will not feel rushed and the staff welcomes you; find a place clean and quiet where conversation is possible and the chairs are comfortable; the menu is easy to read. Watch for stairs. Is the floor level? Will someone carry your tray to the table?
If you eat out alone, you may want to ask someone to join you or bring something to read while you wait for your meal to be served. This can help you pass the waiting time more quickly. If you drink alcoholic beverages, set limits on how much you will drink.
It is appropriate to leave the extra gravy, butter, syrup, breading, whipped toppings, and salad dressing on your plate. Remember you don't have to clean your plate. If you want to take a remaining portion of food home to eat at another meal, be sure to keep the food safe to eat. The food must be taken home promptly and refrigerated.