related links

Dine and Teach

Feeding Picky Eaters

Nutrition Smarts

Teen on Teen Advice For Eating Healthy at Restaurants

Fourteen-year-old Lanie Bayless has been eating out since she was only four-days-old. Her dad is the award-winning chef Rick Bayless, owner of two popular Chicago restaurants, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. Lanie literally grew up at Frontera Grill – her room is above the kitchen. With all that restaurant experience under her belt, she has awesome advice for teens trying to dine out healthy.

A Side Order of Veggies, Please

Like a lot of adolescents, Lanie says she’s not a big fan of vegetables. Her list of likes is short: carrots, green beans, salad, and sesame spinach, which is on the menu at many Japanese restaurants. What she loves are comfort foods and dessert (like most kids her age!)

Still, whenever Lanie is at a restaurant, she makes a nutritious point of ordering vegetables with her meal to make sure her body gets all the vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients it needs. “For me, I always want to eat stuff that’s rich and creamy. That’s fine to do, but I always try to order a salad or something to go with it and try to balance it out, “ she explains. “I always try to have something in there like vegetables.”

Lanie and Rick’s Excellent Kitchen Adventures

Lanie has eaten her way around the globe with her parents, dining both in restaurants and at the homes of far-flung family friends. Last fall, she and her dad published a book about their travels – Rick and Lanie’s Excellent Kitchen Adventures (Stewart, Tabori & Change, 2004). It’s an endearing collection of much loved recipes, stories, and lists of “cool” CDs from around the world to listen to when you are cooking, which teenagers will really get a kick out of.

Asked what was the strangest food she tasted during her globetrotting, Lanie says, “every little thing that I put in my mouth in Japan! They had some pretty weird food there.”

She says her favorite cuisines are French and Mexican and she gives her dad’s restaurants high marks.

Get Some C

In addition to eating lots of vegetables (and fruit) for good health, teens need to make sure to get plenty of calcium. This important mineral is responsible for strong, healthy bones and teeth. Teenagers, girls in particular, need a lot of calcium because their bones are growing rapidly.

Milk is the beverage of choice for teens when they are eating out, rather than a sugary soda or fruit drink. A yogurt smoothie is another good option.

Other Tips For Teens Eating Out:

  • Use delicious, low-fat salsa on your baked potato instead of sour cream or butter.
  • Try mustard in place of mayonnaise as a sandwich spread.
  • Ask for salad dressings on the side and use in moderation.
  • Order entrees that are broiled, baked or grilled instead of fried.
  • Split dessert with a pal to save calories.
  • Listen to your body. When you feel full, stop eating!


Sign up for FoodFit's FREE newsletters

Get healthy recipes, nutrition information and fitness tips!

privacy policy Submit


FoodFit is a part of HealthCentral
© 1999- The HealthCentral Network, Inc., Copyright All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy and Terms of Use