There are so many different places to eat and so many different kinds of ethnic restaurants to choose from. You have your All-American burger joint, Italian cuisine, Chinese, Japanese and Sushi buffets, restaurants that have an emphasis on homemade plates and desserts, Steakhouses, and of course your fast food places. But how do you know which one is better for you in term of eating healthy?

Well, from a health standpoint, recent research has shown that restaurants and fast food places are about equal when it comes to nutrition and dietary information. That’s when you, the most important part of the equation comes in. It partly comes down to your choice when you arrive at the restaurant and skim over the menu. All restaurants these days have healthy foods to choose from, and some even offer low-calorie options. “Sit-down” restaurants, especially, are increasingly aware that some of their patrons are health-conscious and want to maintain healthy eating habits even though they are eating at a restaurant or fast food place. For those of you who are sensitive to gluten or have Celiac Disease eating out is a challenge; however, you can still indulge in sweet potato fries, or soups and salads. Be sure to talk with the server or person behind the counter if you have any questions concerning how the food is prepared.

Some other factors may come to mind as well when you consider eating at a restaurant or a fast food place. Take, for instance, the setting and how much time you have to eat your meal. For example, if you’re in the mood for a relaxing atmosphere, you may want to go to the Olive Garden, Longhorn’s Steak House, or Cracker Barrel. All of these restaurants are “sit-down” restaurants that provide a comfortable eating environment with music that isn’t too loud. The hostess seats you and may take your drink order. Then, while you wait for your drinks to be served, you can review the menu at your leisure. Take this time to visit with your family and friends that are at your table. If you have any dietary restrictions or concerns, be sure to discuss them with your server before you order your meal. Being able to make special requests is an added perk when it comes to dining at a sit-down restaurant. This is not something you’d be able to do if you ate at a fast food place, nor would they be able to accommodate your request like the restaurant would. Once your meal is served, you can begin to enjoy your succulent steak or a warm bowl of chowder. It is also nice that the server will touch base with you to ensure that your meal is satisfactory. It’s nice to eat in a restaurant that cares about its customers. It adds a personal touch to the overall dining experience at a restaurant. Usually, you will spend about half an hour to an hour, or more, at a restaurant which leads to the other point; you need to have the time available for you to spend there. Thoroughly enjoying a meal and your company means being able to sit back, relax and simply enjoy your time at the restaurant. The following link offers a personal experience and the fond memory the author had while dining at a restaurant with her mom, .

You can find a dessert selection at any eating establishment, including fast foods, although their dessert menu is somewhat limited to cheesecakes or ice cream. However, if you should fancy a double-fudge brownie a la mode, or carrot cake, then your best choice is a restaurant, like Red Lobster or a local diner.  A local restaurant come deli in St. Louis which is kind of a cross between restaurant and fast food is Kohn’s Kosher Restaurant and Deli.

On the other hand, if you are short on time, a fast food place may be the way to go. Usually, you will eat your meal in less than 20 minutes there, or eat it on the go in the car. Menus at fast food places and offer the usual cheeseburger or some kind of chicken sandwich, fries, and a drink. Some fast food joints specialize in only chicken or “Mexican” cuisine, like KFC or Taco Bell. These kinds of places do not offer a rewarding, personal experience because a person behind the counter takes your order and you’re on your own. You even have to clear your own table. People don’t have to do that if they eat at a restaurant.

There are advantages to eating at fast food places because they are no nonsense and keep your choices to a minimum. However, when most people think of eating out, they are referring to eating at a restaurant, They want to get away from the routine of life and enjoy an evening out.