If your favorite restaurant doesn't offer specific heart-healthy foods, you can make wise choices.
Use the following chart to help you make low-fat or low-sodium choices at eight types of restaurants.
Foods to Choose
Foods to Avoid
Order a prepackaged salad with low-fat salad dressing.
Order sandwiches without pickles, olives, mayonnaise, cheese and sauces (such as special sauce, tartar sauce, etc.).
Try roasted or broiled meat sandwiches.
A hamburger is a better choice than a fried fish sandwich.
Order submarine sandwiches with lean meats and add lots of vegetables.
Fast food is generally not your heart-healthiest choice.
Avoid breaded chicken, fried fish, onion rings and french fries.
Skip the cheese, bacon and large serving of hamburger.
Avoid malts or milkshakes.
Family style food
Choose grilled or baked chicken or fish, baked potatoes (without butter or sour cream), steamed vegetables and tossed salads with low-fat dressing.
Ask for a side salad instead of french fries or chips.
Choose low-fat or nonfat yogurt or sherbet for dessert.
Avoid dishes with lots of cheese, sour cream or cream sauces (such as Hollandaise, Bearnaise, Alfredo).
Avoid fried fish or chicken.
Avoid items that include the words: smothered, fried, breaded or creamy.
Avoid appetizer-type foods, au gratin potatoes, prime rib, cream soups and milkshakes.
Choose menu items that are made to order and include a variety of vegetables, rather than ones prepared ahead of time (such as a buffet).
Ask that your food be prepared without salt, soy sauce or MSG.
Spring rolls usually are not deep fried.
Request steamed rice instead of fried rice.
Order entrees with vegetables and lean meat, chicken, fish or tofu.
Avoid deep-fried egg rolls, wontons, tofu, meats and noodles.
Skip curry sauces and gravies.
Choose items with a variety of vegetables and very little cheese.
Choose beans, rice, corn or flour tortillas, lean meat and chicken items (such as fajitas and chile verde).
Avoid deep fried tortilla chips and taco shells. Use very little cheese or sour cream.
Choose items that are fixed to order. Or, order sauces on the side.
Choose items with tomato or red clam sauce.
Avoid items in heavy cream sauces (such as Alfredo).
and salad bars
Choose whole grain breads and other grain products, tofu, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Choose vinegar and a little oil or lemon juice as salad dressing. Or, select the lowfat or low-calorie dressing if available.
Avoid bacon bits, pickles, salted sunflower seeds, meat salads (such as tuna or chicken salads) and cheese.
Greek and Middle Eastern food
Choose lean beef or lamb, vegetables and rice.
Choose tabouli salad, shish kebab, souvlaki, couscous, rice pilaf and pita bread.
Avoid deep fried foods and oily dipping sauces.
Ask that your food be made without salt. Many unique spices add flavor so you won't miss the sodium.
Choose dals (legume-based dishes), rice-based dishes, lentil dishes, tondoori chicken or fish, and salads or vegetables with yogurt dressing.
Avoid curry dishes because they are made with coconut milk.