The EatSmart Blog

Providing Tools and Tips to Live Healthier, Happier Lives

How to Eat Out Without Sabotaging Your Healthy Habits

dining out healthy

When you are trying to eat healthier, ordering food at some restaurants can seem impossible. Many restaurant menus are loaded with tantalizing options that tempt you into ordering a sugary, salty – and diet sabotaging – dish.

A 2016 study from the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that 92% of meals from more than 120 restaurants assessed were served at portion sizes that exceeded calorie recommendations for a single meal. Some of these meals even exceeded total daily calorie recommendations.

Thankfully, even if you are serious about your healthy diet, eating out doesn’t have be a struggle. With a few tips and some planning, you can enjoy your favorite restaurant without compromising your healthy habits.

Review the menu online

Many restaurants have their menus online, so you can choose what you want to eat ahead of time.  Plan your meal with the healthiest choices that appeal to menu online

Be the first to order

Listening to what your dining companions are eating can sway you into changing your mind. Order first and stick to your plan.

Know cooking definitions

Grilled, steamed, and broiled are generally cooked with less oil and salt. Breaded, smothered, fried, loaded, sautéed, alfredo, and creamy are all dishes that are heavy on the calories. Choose the lighter options.grilled chicken

No fasting

It’s tempting to skip lunch or breakfast to save yourself some calories. However, you’ll just end up famished and eating more than you intended to. Eat healthy meals during the day to avoid overeating at the restaurant.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Ask if you can have vegetables instead of fries or chips. Ask to have the bread plate removed to avoid temptation. Ask if there is a way to have the meal made a little more healthily – i.e. light on the cheese or oil, no butter, grilled chicken instead of fried, dressing or sauce on the side.

Watch portion sizes

Many restaurants list the size of their steak, but in general, a piece of meat should be about 4 ounces. Is the potato huge or do you have a mountain of spaghetti? Eat half of it. Take leftovers home to enjoy another night. Not sure what a portion looks like? Our Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale or Precision Elite Digital Kitchen Scale can help you understand portion sizes so you are prepared the next time you dine out.portion-sizes-kitchen-scale

Start with a salad

Salads are a great choice, unless they are loaded with bacon, cheese, croutons, and then coated in a creamy dressing. Go for mixed greens and veggies with an oil based dressing. Always ask for the dressing on the side and add it sparingly.salad

Limit alcohol

Alcohol adds calories and sugar without any nutrition. If you plan have a drink, stick to a glass of wine or beer. If you truly want a cocktail, stay away from sugary mixers and opt for your drink to be mixed with club soda and a squeeze of lime or splash of fruit juice. If you’re having more than one alcoholic beverage, always have a glass of water to sip in between drinks.alcohol-out

Beware of beverages

Similar to alcohol, sodas, juices, and sweetened soft drinks add calories without any nutritional value. Opt for water, club soda with lime or lemon, or an unsweetened iced tea. Drink smart and don’t waste calories on sugary beverages.

Pick a healthy starter

Choosing a healthy appetizer can help curb your hunger and leave you feeling satisfied rather than stuffed. Broth based soup, green salads with vinaigrette dressing, edamame, or shrimp cocktail are all examples of healthy starters.soup

Order an appetizer as your meal

Do you clean your plate without realizing how much you’ve eaten? Most restaurant portions are too large. Smaller than a full meal, appetizers tend to be just the right size for a meal, especially when paired with a healthy starter.

Beware of salt bombs

Dishes that rely on sauces, broth, red sauce or cheese tend to be high in sodium. If you want to control your salt intake, stick to foods like grilled meats, vegetables and baked potatoes. Even some salad toppings, such as olives, cheese, and croutons are also higher in salt, so eat those sparingly.

Do you have a healthy tip for eating out? Tweet it to us at

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dining out healthy list

The Beginner’s Guide to Fall Baking

beginner's guide to fall bakingDoes the crisp, cool air inspire you to bake some delicious fall treats? Fall is the perfect time to bake because seasonal produce is abundant and cooler temperatures make it easy to turn on the oven. As you prepare your favorite recipes, it’s important to remember that baking is more of a science than cooking. Unlike cooking, ingredients need to be measured precisely for the best results.

If you love to bake, but need some inspiration, we’ll help you make perfect pies and delicious cookies. Follow these tips to get great results for your autumn inspired baked goodies.


Choose seasonal fruit. We know, summer gets all the glory when it comes to fruit, but fall produce is amazing. Plus, you need to do something with all of those apples that you picked! Other great choices for fall baking are cranberries, pumpkins, pears, and pomegranates.

baking mis en place

Gather the ingredients and tools needed. Gather all of the ingredients and tools that you will need ahead of time so you are not stopping and searching for necessary items in the middle of baking. It’s distracting and can lead to skipping an ingredient or missing a crucial step.


Use complimentary spices. Cinnamon and pumpkin pie spices are popular for a reason, but there are other tasty spices that work equally well in autumn baking. Nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice, mace, star anise, cardamom, coriander, fennel, five-spice and peppercorns all create a different taste experience.


Add in purees for extra nutrition. Purees from seasonal vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato or squash will make any baked good moist. You can safely add 2 – 4 tablespoons of a puree without having to do a substitution with other ingredients. Want to replace some of the fat? Swap out half of the oil or butter for a puree or unsweetened applesauce.


Choose easy to follow recipes. If you’re a novice baker, you should choose simple recipes that do not have a long list of ingredients or call for multiple bowls. You are more likely to produce delicious baked goods when the instructions are easy to follow.

graham crumbs

Skip the piecrust. Does the thought of making piecrust intimidate you? Make a crisp or a crumble instead. You get all of that juicy goodness and no crust required! Or, use an alternative to flour based crust, such as nuts, or make a low-fat graham cracker crust.

combine ingredients

Combine ingredients according to the recipe. It might be tempting to cut corners and dump all ingredients into the mixing bowl at once. For optimal results, always follow the recipe step by step.

scale butter

Properly measure out ingredients. When baking, quality depends on having precise measurements. It’s easy to use too much or too little flour with a measuring cup. We recommend using our Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale to get the most accurate measurements and the best results. Using the scale’s tare feature will zero out the weight of the bowl, allowing you to measure each subsequent ingredient by weight. If you weigh everything in a mixing bowl on the scale, you won’t need a measuring cup, which means less dirty dishes. Visit Shane’s Killer Cupcakes blog for a video review on how to measure flour with an EatSmart Kitchen Scale.

With a little planning and experimentation, you can have yummy baked goods that are full of fall flavors.

To help get you started in the kitchen, we’ve chosen some seasonal, easy to follow recipes.

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins by Fueling a Fit Fam

Apple Crisp by Healthy Recipes

Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookies by Amy’s Healthy Baking

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Applesauce Bread by Food on the Table

Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies by Leelalicious

Cranberry Apple Oatmeal Muffins by Celeb Baby Laundry

Do you have a favorite easy to bake fall recipe that you want to share? Tweet us at @eatsmartscales.


Healthy Dinner Recipes You Can Make in 10 Minutes

healthy 10 minute dinners

Do you want to make healthier choices for dinner, but you simply don’t have the time to put a meal together? After a long day at work, you could be left too tired think about cooking a big meal. However, it is possible to make a nutritious home-cooked meal for yourself in only 10-minutes. That’s less time than it would take for delivery to be at your door! We’ve rounded up some of our favorite quick and easy recipes so you can eat smart in no time.

Asian Steak Noodle Bowl

Get the recipe from Meraki Lane.

Healthy Tuna Stuffed Avocado

Get the recipe from The Stay at Home Chef

10 Minute Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

Get the recipe from Dashing Dish.

Whole Wheat Pita Chicken Alfredo Pizza

Get the recipe from Tone & Tighten.

Chicken Tortilla Lettuce Wraps

Get the recipe from Averie Cooks.

10 Minute Beef & Broccolini Bowls

Get the recipe from The Creative Bite.

Tomato and White Bean Salad

Get the recipe from The Cook’s Pyjamas.

Creamy Spinach Artichoke Hummus Pasta

Get the recipe from Fooduzzi.

Healthy Broccoli Slaw Fish Tacos

Get the recipe from Kim’s Healthy Eats.

Couscous Salad in Avocado Bowls

Get the recipe from Kitschen Cat. 

Avocado Pesto Pastaavocado-pasta-sauce-111

Get the recipe from B.Britnell.

Do you have a go-to quick and easy dinner recipe? Please share it with us @eatsmartscales.

Why You Should Start a Home Fitness Routine


There are only so many hours in a day. Between work, school, and family life, it’s hard to find time to drive to the gym, change, workout, shower, and drive home.  Plus, it’s difficult to leave the house once you get home from work, especially if the weather is bad or you have a family dinner to cook. Is it possible to have an effective workout at home? The answer is a resounding yes!

Follow these tips for successful home workouts:

Make it fit your schedule

If you only have 15 or 20 minutes, use that time effectively and get a quick strength or cardio session. In fact, 7 minutes is enough time for a legitimate workout, just ask The Huffington Post!

PRO TIP: To make this a priority, schedule it into your calendar the night before.

Roll out of bed and workout

You don’t have to worry about what you look like or if your clothes match. Set up the equipment you need the night before, head out of the bedroom and start moving.

Be the DJ

Music is a big motivator, and you can choose whatever gets you moving or helps you relax. Since you’re in control, play your music as loud, or soft, as you wish. mobile-phone-iphone-music-38295

Catch up on a favorite show

At home, you can watch something live, a DVR-ed show, or catch up on a Netflix series while working out.home-workout-tips

No more forgotten items

It’s frustrating when you get to the gym only to discover you forgot water, music, or your sneakers. Exercising at home means you always have everything you need on hand.

The options are endless

If you need extra motivation or direction, you can watch exercise videos on DVD, on-demand via cable, or online. Popular online options include Grokker, Daily Burn, and Greatist’s The Best Free Workout Videos on YouTube.

Workout with your kids

When you’re stuck in the house with little ones, get them involved with your exercise routine and have some fun. This super Dad didn’t have to choose exercise or spending time with his kids, he did both at once!
pushups with family

No crowds

It’s annoying when you can’t find an open treadmill or the class you want to attend is packed. At home, you don’t have to fight for floor space or share equipment.

No intimidation factor

It can be intimidating to workout with people who are faster or more fit than you.  It can be beneficial to go at your own pace and get the most out of your routine without comparing yourself to others. home-workout-kettlebell

Change the view

Tired of looking at your living room or basement? Take your routine outside and soak in the greenery and fresh air. Also, a tough workout can feel less intense when done on soft ground rather than a hard floor.backyard-workout

Take a boutique class virtually

Many boutique fitness studios and some gyms now offer live-stream classes. You can get the instructors prompts as if you were actually in the class.

Pick your intensity

Working out at home is not choosing the easy option. It’s just as easy to slack off in the gym. Put in the effort and you will see the results.

You can track your weight loss progress with our Precision Tracker Digital Bathroom Scale. It tracks your original starting weight, weight change from your most recent weigh-in and your current weight.eatsmart-precision-tracker-bathroomscale

For those who are looking for more information, such as muscle mass, body fat, and BMI, we recommend our Body Check Body Fat Digital Scale.ESP_bodycheck_less20

Both scales are great accountability buddies and will help monitor your health and fitness journey at home.

Do you have a favorite home workout? Tweet it to us at @eatsmartscales.

Charity of the Month – Action for Healthy Kids

EatSmart fans will continue to select a Charity of the Month in 2016. Fans will submit short stories about the charity’s mission and why it’s meaningful to them. We began our Charity of the Month donations in 2011. We’ve chosen Action for Healthy Kids as our charity for September because September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

Michigan's Run for Healthy Kids

About Action for Healthy Kids:

Our mission is to mobilize school professionals, families and communities to take actions that lead to healthy eating, physical activity and healthier schools where kids thrive.

georgia farm 2 school

Click here to visit their website.

For every new Facebook Fan we acquire during the month of September, we will donate 50 cents/follower to the Action for Healthy Kids. (So spread the word!)

Click here and EatSmart will donate:

charity of the month - action for healthy kids

If interested in submitting a charity for consideration, please email The donation amount will be capped at 500 new followers/likes.

Photos courtesy of Action for Healthy Kids.

Why Your Body Fat Scale Readings Will NOT Add Up To 100%

Why Your Body Fat Scale Readings Will Not Add Up To 100%

Body fat scales, such as our Precision Digital Body Check Body Fat Scale or Precision Digital GetFit Body Fat Scale, help you get a more accurate picture of your health than an ordinary scale. A body fat scale gives you the breakdown of your weight, allowing you to see if your pounds are coming from fat, muscle mass or water.

Both of our EatSmart body fat scales provide information on weight, body fat, body water, bone mass and muscle mass. Our Body Check scale also calculates your BMI (Body Mass Index) and calories per/day needed to maintain your current weight. As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass, body water and bone density, so it is a good idea to monitor these important health metrics.

Get Fit Scale

When reading your data, keep in mind our bodies are made up of 50% – 65% water. It’s important to note that all tissue, including bone, contains water. Muscle contains more water than fat does. Muscle contains up to 75% water, bone can contain up to 22% water, and fat tissue contains up to a mere 10% of water. Men have more body water than women, which in part is because they carry more skeletal muscle and less essential fat.

These water percentages are important to note when speaking about body fat scales. Because both fat and muscle contain water, part of their total weight includes water weight. This will cause the overall total to be higher than 100%.

For instance, the following stats come from a 172.8-pound man:

Fat: 20.6 percent

Water: 60.5 percent

Muscle: 46.8 percent

Total percentage: 127.9

The total equals 127.9 because body water is found in both the muscle and fat, which increases the total percentage. His water percentage is pretty much on target and his body fat and muscle mass are both within the healthy range.

Weighing yourself consistently, at the same time and after the same amount of activity, is necessary for an accurate reading. Drinking a lot of water or exercising and sweating profusely can alter your body water and may impact the reading on the scale. Ideally, you should weigh yourself first thing in the morning or at least two hours after a meal.


Essential Safety Tips for Running Outdoors


Whether it’s because of busy schedules or personal preferences, many runners often run by themselves. If you run alone, it is imperative that you take the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe. Safety is especially important if you’re someone who is outside logging miles in the early morning or late evening.

As a general rule, running alone is not recommended; however, if you have to do it, be sure to follow these safety tips.

Be Visible

If you wear bright colors, you are much more likely to be seen by motorists. When running at dawn, dusk, or at night, be sure to put on reflective or illuminated gear.

Always Run Against Traffic

It’s much easier to avoid traffic and oncoming vehicles if you can see them coming.

Run with Buddies

When possible, always run with a partner or group as there’s strength and safety in numbers. In fact, your dog can make a great running buddy.

Vary Your Routes and Times

It’s easier to become a target when you are predictable. Potential attackers can study runners’ routines and loom in a particularly dark or isolated area. Change it up. Also, beware if you have a public account on popular running apps such as MapMyRun or Strava. With these apps, strangers could have the ability to track your run.

Avoid Wearing Headphones

Save the headphones for the treadmill. If you must run outdoors to music, make sure the volume is low enough so you are aware of your surroundings and can hear other pedestrians, cyclists or cars.

Stick to Well-lit, Populated Areas

On days when you’re running solo, avoid secluded, dark areas. Move your run to a public space with good lighting, and if possible, run during daylight hours.

Only Explore with a Partner

When you explore new routes, always find someone to run with you. Once you’ve run it with a partner, you can then decide whether it’s safe enough to run alone. If you’re visiting a new city and want to find a good place to run, contact local running stores and ask for their recommendations.

Carry a Cell Phone

Keep your cell phone with you when you run. It’s great to be able to make a phone call in case of any emergency.

Follow Your Instincts

If you feel like you’re entering an unsafe situation, trust your gut and move to a safe location.

Don’t Hesitate to Call the Police

If something happens to you or you notice anything out of the ordinary, call the police. It is important to report incidents immediately.

Pin It:


Here are a few more tips from some of our runner friends on Twitter:

My running tip would be – make sure you are seen. When running in the dark wear a reflective vest so cars and pedestrians can see you as you approach or run past.

If you aren’t sure whether you should run on the isolated trail alone, you probably shouldn’t. Trust your instincts and always play it safe. I like to use the Live Tracking feature on my Garmin 620 to share my run in real time with my family.

Try to run on a busy road or path and wear bright colors – plus they’re fun too!

My safety running tip is to always wear reflective clothing. Especially as we head into the Fall months.

Do you have any additional tips for running safely? Please share with us on Twitter @eatsmartscales.

Grilled Pasta and Vegetables

Grilled Pasta And Vegetables

Guest recipe by

Prep Time: 10 min | Cook Time: 20 min | Total time: 30 min | Serves: 4-6

Grilled Pasta? Since you can grill just about anything- why not pasta? This recipe uses fresh pasta that only takes about five minutes when boiled in water. It’s easy to make, uses your propane grill, and is extremely versatile to your palate. Take a trip to your local farmer’s market and grab your favorite vegetables- then bring it all together to enjoy some delicious Grilled Pasta and Vegetables!


Cheese Tortellini (fresh pasta that needs to be quickly cooked)
Green, red, and yellow bell peppers (cut in 1 inch squares)
Medium sweet onion (Vidalia onion preferred) (cut in 1 inch squares)
One bunch of asparagus (cut in 1 inch pieces)
Sliced baby bella mushrooms
Fresh herbs chopped finely (I used thyme and rosemary)
One stick of salted butter (1/2 cup)


This recipe used a propane grill and was set to high heat.
In a vegetable grill pan, cook the pasta for about five minutes, turning frequently. The pasta will get some grill marks with the slotted vegetable pan.

Place a cast iron pan or Dutch oven directly on grill, melt butter, add chopped fresh herbs, then add grilled pasta and prepared vegetables.

Cook pasta and vegetables together for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and with crunch.

This recipe will serve six if used as a side-dish, or four if a main dish.


About the Author: Cafe Terra shares BBQ/Grilling recipes and more- that are perfect anytime of the year. When they are not cooking up something fun, you can find Terra and her husband over at their business site – Imagine B & T. Come on in – have a seat!

How to Prevent Text Neck

how to prevent text neck

Smartphones have transformed the way we live. As new apps are developed and cellular networks have improved, we are using our phones more than ever before. Most users spend two to five hours per day on their phone. Teenagers, the most devoted smartphone users, can spend eight hours per day, or more, using their phone. This adds up to thousands of hours per year!

While we can’t get enough of our phones, there is a risk to staring down at our screens all day long. Hunching forward for extended periods of time can result in shoulder pain, neck spasms and headaches; commonly known as “Text-Neck”. describes Text-Neck as the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long.

The average human head weighs 10 – 12 pounds, but for every inch we lean forward our head weighs an additional 10 pounds. Bending your neck to read a text message can place an additional 50 pounds of pressure on your neck! The farther the head tilts forward, the more pressure it puts on the spine:

  • 15 degrees puts 27 pounds of pressure on the spine
  • 30 degrees puts 40 pounds of pressure on the spine
  • 45 degrees places 49 pounds of pressure on the spine
  • 60 degrees places 60 pounds of pressure on the spine

Continued pressure can result in large amounts of wear and tear, degeneration of the spine and neck, muscle strain, herniated discs, and pinched nerves. There is a risk of losing the curvature in the neck, which may require corrective surgery. Normally, these injuries affect people in their late 40’s, but now teens and young adults are at greater risk.

There are several things you can do to prevent poor posture and relieve any resulting pain including:

  • Always keep your smart devices at eye level to prevent leaning forward.
  • Spend 15 minutes per day stretching out your neck, spine and chest.
  • Every hour, rotate your neck by gently looking to the left and right, 10 times on each side.
  • Strengthen your core muscles so they can help support your upper body and help create proper posture.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to help keep your spine healthy. Every extra pound puts an additional 4 pounds of pressure on your joints. Our Precision CalPal Digital Bathroom Scale tracks weight, features a daily caloric reference that calculates how many calories are needed to maintain your weight and calculates BMI (Body Mass Index).calpal-digital-bathroom-scale
  • Take breaks at least twice an hour to reduce pressure when working at your computer for long periods of time.
  • Make sure laptops and desktop computers are positioned to be read at eye level.
  • Be cognizant of your posture throughout the day. Are you leaning forward to watch TV or drive? Being mindful can help you maintain good posture and relax sore muscles.
  • See a doctor if you fail to obtain relief. They may recommend massage and physical therapy to relieve pain and help you heal.

Enjoy your technology but be sure to take care of your neck and spine.

How To Prevent Text Neck

Healthy Picnic Recipes

ESP_healthy_picnic_recipes_pinterestThere is something fun about eating al fresco on warm summer days. However, it might be a challenge to come up with foods that are delicious, healthy and easy to transport. If you’re looking for inspiration beyond a sandwich and a bag of chips, we have found that balance with the following portable picnic recipes. They are easy to make, taste great and are sure to become your new go-to picnic items.

Strawberry Watermelon Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Get the recipe from Giggles Galore.

Honey Lavender Lemonade
honey-lavender-lemonade Get the recipe from Fit Foodie Finds.

Homemade Pico de Gallo
pico-de-galloGet the recipe from Coffee Cake and Cardio.

Spiralized Carrot Salad with Lemon Ginger Dressing
Carrot-Salad-with-Lemon-Ginger-Dressing-3Get the recipe from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen.

Grilled Corn, Tomato Arugula Salad
roasted-corn-690-7Get the recipe from Seasons and Suppers.

Sausage and Pineapple Party Bites
Sausage-and-Pineapple-Party-Bites-77Get the recipe from Noshtastic.

Pecan Grape Chicken Salad Sandwich
Pecan-Grape-Chicken-Salad-Recipe-2Get the recipe from Wishes and Dishes.

Southwest Chicken Salad
Southwest-Chicken-Salad-1Get the recipe from Catz in the Kitchen.

Spicy Avocado Chickpea Salad Sandwich
chickpea-avocado-sandwich-9065Get the recipe fromVegan Richa.

Fudgy Dark Chocolate Frosted Brownies
Get the recipe from Amy’s Healthy Baking.

Do you have a favorite picnic recipe that you want to share? Tweet it to us at @eatsmartscales.

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