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Tips for Eating Out the Heart Healthy Way

Download Tips for Eating Out the Heart Healthy Way pdf document (387k) handout.

You don’t have to give up eating fast foods to eat right. Here are some tips on how to make heart healthy choices at fast food restaurants.


  • Order sandwiches without mayonnaise, tartar sauce, or special sauces. Or try mustard or low-fat mayonnaise. Ask for vegetables to be added to your sandwich.
  • Order small, plain hamburgers instead of deluxe sandwiches.
  • Order sandwiches made with lean roast beef or grilled chicken. Chicken and tuna salad made with regular mayonnaise are high in fat.
  • Choose grilled chicken or fish sandwiches instead of breaded chicken or fish sandwiches.

Main dishes

  • Choose rotisserie-style chicken rather than fried chicken. Always remove the skin.
  • Order pizza with vegetable toppings, such as peppers, mushrooms, or onions. Ask for half the usual amount of cheese.
  • Choose grilled, broiled, steamed, or baked fish instead of fried fish.
  • Leave off sauces.

Side dishes

  • Share a small order of french fries instead of eating a large order by yourself.
  • Ask that no salt be added to your serving.
  • Order a baked potato instead of french fries.
    • Try vegetables as a potato topping.
    • Ask that high-fat toppings, such as cheese or sour cream, be served on the side, and use fewer toppings.
    • Ask for low-fat cheese and low-fat sour cream.
  • Use low-calorie, low-fat salad dressing on salad. Bring your own if the restaurant does not offer a low-fat dressing. You can buy packets at some stores. Ask that dressings be served on the side, and use less.
  • Order a green vegetable or salad instead of two or more starches, such as potatoes, steamed rice, noodles (pasta), bread, and corn.


  • Choose water, 100% fruit juice, unsweetened iced tea, or fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk, rather than a soft drink or a milkshake.
  • If you really want to have a soft drink, order a small one or a diet soda.


Buy fresh fruits and gelatin instead of cakes or pies.

Read the “Tips for Eating Out the Heart Healthy Way” handout in Tagalog.

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Information on this page is taken from the English print version of “Healthy Heart, Healthy Family: A Community Health Worker's Manual.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NIH Publication No. 08-3674, Originally Printed 1999, Revised May 2008.

Last Updated March 2012

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