The No Sugar Challenge: Dining Out Strategies

Food served at restaurants and cafes tend to have hidden added sugars.

Our Registered Dietitians share some strategies to help navigate eating out while participating in the No Sugar Challenge.


Dining out can be a challenge while attempting to reduce your added sugar consumption. This is largely due to not having control over the ingredients being used. With that being said, dining out is an enjoyable experience (and often convenient!) and there are ways to align the selections you make with your nutrition and fitness goals. This all starts before you even get to the restaurant!

Before you go:

  • Check the menu out online.

  • Have a plan and select a dish that does not appear (at first glance) to contain ingredients that have added sugars.

  • Many restaurants offer their nutrition information online. For example, Chipotle lists all the ingredients used in their foods online:

  • Eat healthy balanced meals during the day before you head to the restaurant. Don't arrive ravenous. That way you'll be less tempted by unhealthy options.


At the restaurant:

  • Keep it simple with fresh fruits and veggies, plain nuts, seeds, oils and vinegars.

  • Choose items that contain the key words grilled, steamed, roasted or broiled, instead of fried or battered.

  • Ask for salad dressings and sauces on the side and use sparingly. Condiments that typically contain added sugars include: BBQ sauce, honey mustard, peanut sauce, hoisin sauce, plum sauce, aiolis, sweet chili garlic sauce, marinara, teriyaki, and pizza sauce. Use your taste buds - if it tastes sweet it probably has sugar in it! Also, many mayonnaises contain sugar as well, so choose mustard, salsa, or lemon juice instead.

  • Just say no to the bread basket! If your meal comes with bread consider swapping it out for a green salad with oil, vinegar, and lemon juice or a baked potato with salsa instead.

  • State out loud to your dining companions what you plan to order early into your meal. This helps you stay accountable and will make you less likely to cave into desserts or be persuaded to order additional items as your meal progresses.