By Clark Howard, ClarkHoward.com
JUNE 7, 2014 – For some people, half of what we spend on food is often spent eating out. We all know eating out can be tough on a diet. Yet there are free apps and websites to help shift the balance of power in your favor by connecting you with healthier eating choices — no matter where you are.
The New York Timesrecently ran a story that explored how hard it can be to control what and how much you consume when you dine out. But they noted how technology is stepping into that breach to come to the rescue.
Check out these apps and websites to help you eat healthy when you eat out
Food Tripping app – Find great alternatives to fast food wherever you are. Food Tripping locates the closest eateries, juice joints, farmers’ markets, microbreweries, and more
Healthy Out app – Find a healthy meal. Free online ordering from NYC’s best restaurants. Create an account so we can personalize your healthy menu
Gluten Free Restaurant Items app – Provides you with gluten free food items of over 150 most popular restaurant and fast-food chains
Find Me Gluten Free app – Helps you eat gluten free. We have free iPhone and Android apps that help you find gluten free businesses and products
DINE Gluten Free app – Lets you access our huge database of Gluten Free Dining & Travel REVIEWS from the U.S. — and around the world — when you’re on-the-go
HealthyDiningFinder.com – Find nutrition information for Healthy Dining-approved restaurant menus, Sodium Savvy and Kids LiveWell choices
SafeFare.org – If you are managing food allergies or are a restaurant professional, SafeFARE provides tools and resources to help you create a safer, more enjoyable dining experience
AllergyEats.com – Guide to allergy-friendly restaurants across the United States, rated by people with food allergies
GlutenFreePassport.com – Safely eat and serve foods free from gluten, wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, corn, egg, soy, and more
Don’t forget the java!
On the fun side, there’s also a NYC startup with an app called Cups that is like the anti-Starbucks. It puts together a consortium of indie coffee shops, then you pay a subscription and can drink all you want for a flat rate per month. Of course, we’re talking New York prices, so this service will set you back $45 a month for unlimited coffee!
Avoid the Bermuda Triangle
Some years ago, I wrote in Clark’s Big Book of Bargainsabout how to eat out at restaurants the Clark Smart way. At the time, I discussed the Bermuda Triangle of the restaurant industry where restaurateurs make their biggest profits: Appetizers, desserts and alcohol.
Now the Bermuda Triangle of dining is snaring diners because the price of wine is up. The Los Angeles Times reports wine production is at the lowest level since 1975 at the same time that consumption is up. Hence the squeeze play leading to higher prices.
This is a time to product substitute. You may need to become more selective about the wine you choose to drink and look for the deals.
Or why not have that glass of wine at home instead of at the restaurant? Or why not look for discounts on sites like Restaurant.com or use a site like OpenTable.com that lets you make reservations online and earn points toward free meals?
And if you’ve ever wondered how much to tip when eating out, you may want to read this article about the new normal when it comes to restaurant tipping! But don’t read it on a full stomach; I want you to enjoy that meal when you go out and take the trouble to eat healthy!