Nowadays, the selection of restaurants and eateries that you can find in Philadelphia is beyond impressive. That is why it is not surprising that more and more people now prefer to dine out rather than to enjoy a quiet meal at home. Therefore, knowing how to make most out of your dining experience – both in terms of nutrition and pleasure – has become quite important. If you want to know how to achieve that and to turn every one of your dining out experiences into a health-friendly affair, without having to spend a small fortune in the process, you have come to the right place indeed. We will provide you with a few valuable tips on that subject that will be of great help to you.

vegetables should be a staple in your diet

Pictured: Eating more vegetables is always important

Dealing with the buffet effect

Buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner are a staple in many restaurants, especially those managed by hotels. They are the perfect way to get a balanced yet cheap meal and recharge your batteries after a hard day at work when you are on a business trip or if you were busy sightseeing around the city as a tourist. The only problem is that buffets are often an open invitation to overeat and we all know how unhealthy (and in extreme cases, incapacitating) this could be. So, what can one do?

The best strategy for getting the most out of the buffet option at a restaurant is to avoid quickly filling up your plate as if your life depends on it. Instead, take your time and browse what’s being offered and choose those dishes that best fit your tastes and current dietary needs. Once you have done that, you can go back and get a plate – preferably a small one. If the amount of food you’ve had is not enough to satisfy your hunger, you can always just go and get a refill. However, our advice is to use your will and to control your impulses.

a healthy buffet

Pictured: You can eat healthy at a buffet too


Psychology is a factor

Several studies have revealed that people who eat in a dimly-lit atmosphere tend to consume more food and drinks than those who eat out in broad daylight or in well-lit eateries. So, if you have that option, choose a well-lit restaurant the next time you are planning to dine out or, at the very least, try to find the best-lit spot in it.


Forget about grab-and-go options

We know that setting aside time for a nice meal in the busy and often hectic world that we live in has become more of an extravagance rather than a normal occurrence. But if you insist on watching after your health and happiness, you will manage to dedicate half an hour of your day to sit down and have a proper meal. Eating on the go will make you consume more calories than you actually need, which may result in:


  • Overeating and feeling bloated;
  • Feeling more exhausted;
  • Developing various health problems;
  • Taking the joy out of eating;


Therefore, it turns out that it is much more preferable to try and to arrange your schedule in such a way that you can sit down and have lunch/dinner when you are out, instead of going for the classic sandwich or slice of pizza which you can quickly devour on the go. Also, don’t be one of those people who eat and drive. That can be dangerous, not only for your diet but for your own well-being and for that of the people around you.

well-wit dinner restaurant

Pictured: A well-lit place is always more pleasant and healthier to dine at


Reap all the benefits by being smart from the get-go

Specialists suggest that the best thing which you can do when you start a meal at a restaurant is not to touch the breadbasket. Even if you feel particularly hungry at that moment, it will be a much better idea to have a glass of water instead of snaking on bread. If you are very hungry, a few sips of water can push that feeling away for a few minutes. Start your actual meal with a fruit or a vegetable. As you can probably guess, the benefits of using this strategy are quite a few: you will encourage yourself to order other healthy meal options. Also, you will be filling up your stomach with low-calorie, healthy food, so even if you go for the fried chicken afterwards, you will be more likely to keep thing more moderate – thus letting much less poison to enter your body. This is just a small adjustment and a tiny price to pay for the positive results that you are going to reap.

Restaurant dos and don’ts

Dos Don’ts
Tip well Keep complaints to yourself
Be on time for a reservation Insist on sitting incomplete parties

Call to ask about the hours

Show up right before closing time
Use coupons Tip on the discounted amount
Be specific about your order Send the server back 10 times


Know what is good to order and what is not

If you learn how to decode the menu at the restaurant, you will not only be able to order a tastier and more filling meal but to also eat healthy. This is particularly important if you are one of those people who eat out on a regular basis. For example, “seasoned”, “roasted”, “marinated”, “fresh” or “broiled” are words that indicate you are in for not only a tasty but also a healthy meal. At the same time, expressions such as “buttery”, “creamed”, “smothered” and the like may mean that the dish in question is exquisite in terms of taste but at the same time, they will be heavy on the calorie intake. That is why you might want to avoid them.


Follow the rules

Etiquette and good manners are just as important as knowing how and what to order. Always be polite to the waiters and don’t forget to tip well. We all know those common rules but you will be surprised how very few of us actually follow them.

Now that you know how to pick a healthy meal at any restaurant, why don’t you drop by The Mad Rex – one of the best places to eat out in Fishtown, Philadelphia?