How I Eat Bone-Healthy Meals At Restaurants - Save Our Bones

I really enjoy eating out at restaurants with friends, family, and loved ones. But I’m well aware of the challenges it poses, such as avoiding bone-damaging ingredients and balancing the pH of a meal.

These concerns are legitimate, but that doesn’t mean we can’t splurge and “break the rules” once in a while (I know I do!). If I eat out more often than usual, however, I want to stick to bone-healthy meals. So I ended up creating my own “restaurant rules”.

Today, I’m thrilled to show you my eight strategies I use when eating out so you too can stick to the Save Our Bones dietary recommendations while enjoying restaurant meals.

Let’s get started!

1. Substitute Foods Where You Can

When you look at the menu, consider the “extras” and side dishes. If the waiter or waitress typically brings white-bread rolls to the table before the meal, see if you can substitute with raw vegetables and a dip. Most restaurants have celery, tomatoes and carrots. You can make the same request for veggie substitutes if the restaurant serves corn chips and dip.

Another area to consider substitutions is side dishes. Instead of a baked white potato loaded with acidifying butter and sour cream, ask for a baked potato with plain yogurt or olive oil and herbs.

2. Speak Up About Salt

Restaurants typically use large amounts of salt to boost flavor, and many of them rely on processed, frozen, and preserved foods, such as frozen egg rolls, deli meats, and packaged chips. Soups are another potential source of very high sodium levels.

So when dining out, don’t be afraid to request that no salt be added to your food. And choose menu items that are not pre-packaged or deep-fried, because too much sodium is very bad for your bones.

According to Dr. Linda Frassetto, whose meticulous research I have quoted often on this site and in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, excess salt harms bones by skewing the sodium-to-potassium ratio. When the ratio is too high on the side of sodium, it creates a state of metabolic acidosis. Increasing your intake of potassium-rich fruits and vegetables is just one side of the equation; reduction of sodium is essential for preserving and bringing about an alkaline state.

3. Choose Bone-Healthy Cooking Methods

When you look over the menu, opt for cooking methods that do not involve deep frying (like French fries, breaded chicken, etc.) or pan frying, like burgers and some fish dishes. Opt for baked or broiled whenever possible.

By choosing low-fat cooking methods, you can avoid GMO oils like canola, corn, and soybean.

And remember, if there is a fried item on the menu that you’d like, it doesn’t hurt to ask if it can be prepared by a healthier method.

4. Choose Healthy Salad Dressing

Prepared salad dressings are often full of sugar, preservatives, unhealthy fats (often GMO), and even monosodium glutamate (MSG). But just about any restaurant will provide you with oil and vinegar or lemon juice if you ask. Make sure you request bone-building olive oil so as to avoid shady “salad oil” that almost always contains GMO soybean oil. And if they have apple cider vinegar, all the better!

5. Sauce On The Side, Please

Like salad dressing, the average prepared sauce can be loaded with sugar, corn syrup, MSG, and a host of other bone-damaging ingredients. While having the sauce on the side doesn’t change the ingredients, it does give you control over how much of it you eat, and you don’t end up with a meal that’s drowning in a bone-damaging unhealthy prepared sauce.

6. Increase The Amount Of Vegetables

Here is one of those times when asking for more is the healthier option! If your meal comes with steamed or sautéed vegetables on the side, ask for a double portion. This balances your meal in favor of alkalizing foods, and helps fill you up with nutritious, bone-rejuvenating veggies. The restaurant may charge you more, but personally, I have never had that happen when I ask for extra vegetables.

7. Share The Sweets

You don’t necessarily have to skip dessert. Check the menu and see if they offer frozen yogurt, and ask for just one scoop. Sometimes they offer half-portions of their regular desserts, and remember to ask for alkalizing fresh fruit on the side. In fact, just having some fresh fruit for dessert is an excellent, bone-healthy option.

Here is something else I’ve tried. When the main course is a pH-balanced or alkalizing salad, go ahead and order a regular sized dessert and share it with the others at the table.

8. Order Bottled Water – Even If They Claim Their Water Is “Filtered”

Many restaurants serve tap water. Savers are well aware that in most municipalities, tap water is full of fluoride, and ingesting it destroys bones. Even if the restaurant assures you that their water is filtered, it’s still best to order bottled water, because the average filtration system does not remove fluoride.

The Save Our Bones Diet Does Not Have To Be Rigid

I know how it can be when you first begin to form your plan for a bone-healthy diet. You might feel like you have to follow it “to the letter.” But that’s the beauty of the Save Institute's approach to bone-building nutrition – it’s not so rigid that you can’t splurge now and then by eating out, enjoying food at parties, and so forth.

It is all a matter of balance. Of course, a pH-balanced diet is essential for rejuvenating bones, but if the majority of your meals are prepared at home (mine are), then it’s perfectly fine to deviate from that now and then by eating out. After all, feeling happy and decreasing stress is an important component for healthy bones, so go out and have fun!

Preparing Food At Home Need Not Be Drudgery

Many people, and I’m sure some Savers, choose to dine out because they don’t feel up to the task of preparing bone-healthy meals and snacks every day. But there is no need to worry in this regard, because it does not have to be drudgery.

In fact, with our cookbook Bone Appétit, preparing meals to build your bones can be simple, easy, and enjoyable.

Bone Appétit begins with a list of Foundation Foods, so you know right off the bat which are the foods that nourish your bones in the alkalizing and acidifying categories. It continues with a list of important Foundation Supplements, and the foods that are highest in each respective supplement (for example, “Highest Food Sources of Vitamin C” or “Polyphenol Rich Foods”).

Bone Appétit is full of beautiful color photographs and delicious, bone-rejuvenating recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner (including scrumptious pH-balanced desserts!) that make planning bone-healthy meals a cinch.

And for “fast food” that takes 20 minutes or less to prepare, you can choose from the Quick Picks section at the end of each chapter.

In addition, Bone Appétit comes with three exciting bonuses:

  • Calcilicious, a recipe collection of easy-to-prepare dishes that are rich in calcium.
  • Blender Magic, a colorful collection of nutritious, bone-healthy smoothies and “shakes” that you can prepare in your blender.
  • The 30 Day Meal Planner, a truly helpful resource that organizes your meal planning daily, including snacks to nourish your bones for a full month.

If you don’t have it yet, I invite you to explore this delightful cookbook that makes preparing food for your bones fun and healthy.

Till next time,

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42 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. Greta

    I love reading all the different questions that woman have about their bones, and the answers that Vivian give to each question, very informative.
    Thank you so much Vivian


  2. Elizabeth Di Blasio

    Dear Friends!
    I read the letters of people who have the same interest as I… Some good and some not good!
    The best advice that I can contribute to the readers is: : Do not take any medication in order to maintain good strong healthy bones! Nutrition and exercise is what we need to maintain

    I was prescribed Fosomax and Prolia – I was only 4 months on Fosamax enough to damage my health beyond repair! Need I say more! My body now produces too many platelets because of both these drugs.
    2 poisonous drugs that ” Big Pharma ” launched to millions of unsuspecting people. {Victims} We are their guinea pigs! Beware! Good nutrition is what is best for your bones and walking! I was a beautiful woman way back 2014. And then, I accepted the poisonous medication and those medications did me in! I only took them for 4 months…. and presently my platelet count has soared to 1200. whereupon, my platelet count i was 395- I had a perfect blood test results back then! Beware when a doctor prescribes …. i suggest that you go on Google and research before ingesting. Desolate. Elisabetta

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Elizabeth, I’m so sorry that you’re yet one more victim of osteoporosis drugs! That’s what the Save Institute is all about: finding natural ways to improve bone health to prevent fractures. I hope your test results will improve and know that we’re always here for you.

  3. Elle

    Is kosher salt ok? Thank you

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Sea salt is a much better choice, Elle 🙂

  4. Maryann

    Himalayan Salt, from what I have read, is alkalizing. What are your thought Vivian?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Yes, like sea salt, Humalayan salt is alkalizing due to the presence of alkaline minerals.

  5. Marlene Villar

    Good morning Vivian,
    An excellent article Vivian ! It is a reminder for me @ this very moment to be aware of both advantages and disadvantages of dining in OR taking out.
    Thank you very much for sharing. Have a wonderful day.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are welcome, Marlene, and you make a good point about take-out foods!

  6. Barbara

    I follow the bone healthy eating/exercising program most of the time. My problem is weight lose on the program. I am 5’8″ and weigh 118 lbs. How can I increase calories at each meal by eating bone healthy foods? (I do eat high calorie nuts & avacadoes daily). Thank you.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Barbara,

      Luckily, there’s such a wide variety of foods you can eat on the Osteoporosis Reversal Program (and no limit to the amount you can eat) that it should be easy to adjust for either weight loss or weight gain. 🙂 You can add more complex carbs that pack calories, such as bananas, grapes, alkalizing beans, green peas, sweet potatoes, potatoes with peel, etc. And you can up the calories of the acidifying foods. For example, replacing chicken with beef.

      Multiple snacks throughout the day can help, too.

      If that doesn’t do it for you, you could try switching to a 70/30 alkaline/acid balance, so as to increase consumption of higher calorie foods (pasta, brown rice, bread, etc.).

  7. mary

    I think I am eating pretty well with green tea or lemon water. I eat salads more often than not. Guess what .. I left the doctor last week who told me my bone density on my spine test is a -3.9. He told me I cannot let this go any longer. He scheduled an upcoming date after he speaks to my insurance for me to begin Prolia.

    My orthodontist suggested I try it but at the first sign of jaw or tooth trouble to get to my local dentist immediately and tell him I am on this medicine. My pharmacist (friend) said his wife took a another product for two years and found no improvement, She is no longer on it. Another friend (bone doctor) said my numbers are low and he is concerned. He suggested I get the shots started right away.

    My husband and I are dedicate to the Save Our Bones program.

    I’m scared. Some – please send me an email and give me the confidence to do the right thing. PLEASE?


    • Malinda

      Mary I know exactly what you are going through as I am in a similar position. I am also scared of this drug as I have an overall intolerance of drugs. My health has been deteriorating with having several autoimmune diseases and I know that my body is not strong. I have been following the save our bones programme for about five years now but my bones just keep getting thinner. When I see my rheumatologist she hasn’t the time to listen to my overall story and just wants me to take drugs. I hope you can make the right decision for you, Mary. As for me I am still holding off this drug even though my dexa scan reads worse than you. Good luck.

    • jvh

      Bone is mostly a matrix. The matrix requires tensile strength for fracture resistance.

      Bone density indicates the bone’s mass (thickness). Thick, dense bones that lack tensile strength, fracture more easily, than thinner bones with high tensile strength. Bone tests and scans do not measure tensile strength (unfortunately).

      Osteoporosis drugs do NOT improve the tensile strength of the bone matrix. They only thicken bones, which causes spontaneous bone fractures, osteonecrosis of the jaw, and many other nasty side effects – including death.

      Eating bone-healthy foods and regular exercising, improves bone tensile strength. Don’t be intimidated by doctors.

      Keep in mind that as we age, our hair and skin also becomes thinner, but we don’t consider these medical conditions that require life-threatening drugs.

      • Sandra

        I agree with the explanation of bone density vs flexibility. I have been getting echolite ultrasounds of my bones for a year. It measures both the outer and inner strength and has a much improved accuracy rate over traditional dexa scans. It’s been in use in Europe for years but only recently in the USA. It’s also less expensive and doesn’t rely on radiation.

  8. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel)

    Good Afternoon Vivian And Fellow Commenters,

    Thank You Vivian For Letting Us Know That We Can Go Out To Eat And Still Eat Bone-Healthy Meals.
    And Thank You Fellow Commenters, For All Your Helpful Comments.

    Until Next Time Take Care Everyone, And Be Well!


    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re very welcome, Leslie!

  9. Kathleen Riley

    Thank you for the great info on eating out. I have been following many of your suggestions but never thought to ask for bottled water. When I have water I always ask for a few lemons as they are alkalizing and good for us. I also add avocado to every salad when it’s offered. I think avocado is a super food. And it’s delicious too!

    • Marianne

      Be careful! Lemons served in restaurants are notorious for being very dirty!

      • Andrea

        I read about a study that found that lemon slices served in water glasses in restaurants were often dirty (residue of fecal matter included!). Now I request lemon on the side so I can squeeze the juice myself into the water.

        • Kathleen Riley

          Thanks for pointing that out, Andrea – I also just squeeze the juice into my water and do NOT add the lemon itself. When I order water I specify “lemon on the side.”

      • Andrea

        I also like lemon to flavor my water, but to avoid tainting my water with a dirty rind, I request the waiter to give me lemon on the side. Then I squeeze the juice into the water myself.

  10. Jo Getter

    Hi Vivian! Thanks so much for all the information you give us. This one about restaurant eating is especially good and very useful for me right now. I’m traveling around Costa Rica (3 months now and 3 more to go) and only eating out. I think I’m doing pretty well…and now I’ll do even better! Again and always…thank you!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Perfect timing! Enjoy your travels.

  11. Connie

    Vivian, I thought sour cream, along with plain yogurt, was one of the few alkalizing dairy products. I have been using sour cream and garlic powder on my white potatoes. With skins, of course!.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Some sour cream is cultured and fermented, which would make it more alkalizing. 🙂 In a restaurant, you have no way of knowing, so that is why I ask for plain yogurt.

      • Kathleen Riley

        Yikes! I thought all sour cream was fermented. How do we know which to buy at the grocery?

  12. Cary Davis

    Hi Vivian,
    I have written several times with the same question and have not received a response to my knowledge. How do I check for your answer? Can you email me your response? My question is about Fosteum, a prescription soy-based dietary supplement that I have been taking for a few years now. What is your take on Fosteum?
    Thank you for letting me know your response. Cary

  13. Candace

    Hello from Italy, I enjoy your emails very much and have downloaded your books, recipes, etc. I am lactose intolerant and can’t eat nightshades because of allergies…also a number of nuts, fruits, etc. therefore a great number of your recipes are impossible for me. The exercises are, however, all great.
    Thank you for all the information that you send.

    • Coral

      I am yhe same way and wish you would address the problem for people like us. I do appreciate all the exercizes.

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

        Candace and Coral, you bring up a good point. Everyone’s nutritional needs and food tolerances are different, but that is actually the point of the Program and Bone Appetit! The nutritional principles described in the Program and Bone Appetit can be applied to anyone’s dietary needs. 🙂 Feel free to leave out certain foods and substitute others.

  14. Richard

    The article suggested the wrong methods of cooking meat or carbs. High temperatures result in cancer of these foods and food should either be steamed, boiled or microwaved…Never consume black meat, fish or chicken!

    • Kathleen Riley

      Richard: I believe microwaving food also causes it to become acidic. Maybe Vivian can answer this question for us.

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

        Hi Kathleen,
        Surprisingly enough, little research has been conducted on how microwave radiation affects food, and how irradiated food affects the human body. But the few studies available point to a notable decrease of nutrients in foods heated using a microwave oven. Also, potentially deleterious changes to protein molecules have been observed. And last but not least, microwaving generates unnatural radiolytic compounds with effects that have yet to be discovered. Personally, I don’t use a microwave. 🙂

        • Dee

          Hi Vivian, I have read several commenters that say frozen vegetables in the microwave are much better for you than fresh cooked.

  15. Feleciana Fernandes

    I am diagnosed with osteoporosis since 8-10 years now. But I take meloxicam only when very painful. Otherwise I take only Osteocare capsules.

    • Marianne

      Be very careful with Meloxicam as it can cause some very serious problems like leaky gut and cardiac issues. NSAIDs have caused many deaths!

  16. Marc

    Hello Everyone,

    I ask the waiter if the chef can cook me a vegan meal and they usually always oblige.
    They don’t want to lose a valuable customer.


    • Richard

      Vegan does not make it healthy… You should specify the method of cooking to ensure it is cooked at a relatively low temperature as in boiling or steaming. Do you want corn starch, added oil and chemicals like MSG and others? Do you want food that has 20 grams more of sugar than needed plus a pound of salt?
      Ketchup and fries are vegan, is that your kind of meal?

      • Marianne

        I would also wonder if the soy served in restaurants is GMO soy! Unless it is an organic restaurant, most nonorganic soy in the United States is GMO soy. Not good!

  17. Grace Van Dusen

    Dear Vivian,

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge on our BONE saving information, I always read your email on this site and try to apply as my daily habit, and it is very important, at times I share with some of my friends when they are willing to pay attention to my comments.

    Warm regards,

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I really appreciate your spreading the word, Grace. The more people who know there are drug-free options for osteoporosis, the better!

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