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Many Americans eat out, looking for fast, easy and good-tasting foods to fit a busy lifestyle. Whether it’s carry-out, delivery, food court, office cafeteria or sit-down restaurant, there are smart choices everywhere.

“In today’s busy, multi-tasking world, our eating habits often get formed around competing priorities. Unfortunately, our limited ‘on-the-go’ options aren’t always the best,” says MetroWest Medical Center’s Regional Director of Clinical Nutrition Systems Jennifer Larrivee MS, RDN, LDN.  “Many of us eat out often and we are always looking for fast, easy, and good tasting foods to fit our busy lifestyles.”

In March, we celebrate National Nutrition Month with 10 tips from Larrivee when eating on-the-run:

  1. Plan where to eat.
    Think ahead and consider what meal options are available. Find a place with a wide variety of menu options. Make careful menu selections, reviewing special sections with healthier choices.


  1. Review nutrition information.
    If available, read the ingredients like saturated fats and added sugar to compare selections. Good menu terms include baked, braised, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted and steamed.


  1. Consider food choices for your day.
    When planning a special restaurant meal out, have a lighter breakfast and lunch, but don’t skip meals.


  1. Start with vegetables.
    Begin with soup or salad as a way to include more vegetables at mealtime. Follow up with a light main course. To increase the variety of vegetables, be mindful of a colorful dish and “eat the rainbow of vegetable colors.”


  1. Add more vegetables.
    Boost the nutrition in all types of sandwiches by adding tomato, lettuce, peppers or other vegetables. And load up your pizza with vegetable toppings.


  1. Split your order.
    Try to eat only half of your plate, to take the rest home for another meal. Ask the wait staff for a ‘to-go’ box at the beginning of your meal. Or share an extra-large sandwich or main course with a friend.


  1. Healthier breakfast sandwiches.
    Replace bacon or sausage with Canadian bacon or ham. Order your sandwich on a whole grain English muffin.


  1. Desk dining.
    Keep single-serve packages of whole grain crackers, fruit, peanut butter, soup or tuna around for a quick lunch.


  1. Food on-the-go.
    Tuck portable, nonperishable foods in your purse, tote, briefcase or backpack for an on-the-run meal. Suggestions include peanut butter and crackers, granola bars, a piece of fresh fruit, trail mix and single serve packages of whole grain cereal.


MetroWest Medical Center offers an outpatient nutrition clinic, with a doctor’s referral, to counsel patients with diabetes, heart disease and obesity, among other illnesses, on food choices based on their medical dietary needs. Contact MetroWest Medical Center’s central scheduling center for an appointment at (508) 650-7768.


About MetroWest Medical Center

MetroWest Medical Center is a teaching community health care system serving the greater MetroWest region of Massachusetts. For more than 125 years, it provides services in three locations: Framingham Union Hospital, a full-service acute care hospital in Framingham; Leonard Morse Hospital, a behavioral health facility in Natick; and MetroWest Wellness Center, an outpatient care center of MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham.  MetroWest Medical Center is committed to meeting the health care needs of the area residents by providing advanced medicine and personalized care, right in the local community. In 2023, Healthgrades® named MetroWest Medical Center one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Coronary Intervention Award™, which puts MetroWest Medical Center in the top 5% of hospitals nationwide for Coronary Intervention. To learn more, visit