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Seniors Can Save Money by Eating Out and Staying Healthy, Too

The secret to eating out on a limited budget? Senior discounts, and more.

Becoming a senior certainly has its perks. We can get senior airline fares; clothing stores sometimes offer a discount on "senior day," such as the ’s Tuesdays; and restaurants and fast-food chains throughout Campbell offer various types of discounts.

Most seniors enjoy eating out at least four times a week. Seniors can still eat out on a limited budget, if they choose their restaurant or fast-food chain wisely. For healthy eating out, here are some basic guidelines:

  • Be sure to ask for the senior citizen discount. Often, if they are not asked, clerks and cashiers do not volunteer the information.
  • Choose fast-food restaurants that have healthy options. For example, fried chicken restaurants often do not have non-fried foods. 
  • Stick with regular-size items, rather than super sizes.
  • Drink water, milk, juice or diet soda with your meals. 

Soda can add more than 450 calories and 35 teaspoons of sugar. Don’t be fooled by getting a super size for an additional 50 cents; those two quarters are buying you almost twice the calories!

  • Choose pasta with a red sauce rather than white. The base of white sauce is usually cream or butter.
  • Stay away from buffets, which make it hard not to overeat.
  • Enjoy your favorite high-fat food in moderation; share with a friend or save it for special occasions.
  • At dine-in restaurants, check out the list of appetizers before you order, as there may be an appetizer that is just a smaller portion of the main entrée.

In doing research for this article, I was disappointed that more dine-in restaurants do not offer discounts, but I applaud those that do. The following is a list of participating Campbell restaurants, their address and the type of discount or special that they offer.

  • , 331 W. Hacienda Ave. Mention the Patch for a 10 percent discount
  • , 499 E. Hamilton Ave. Senior Explorer Program, 20 percent off.
  • , 1777 S. Bascom Ave. Senior discount, 10 percent every day.
  • KFC, 1805 Winchester Blvd. Seniors 10 percent off all day, every day.
  • , 200 E. Hamilton Ave. Early Bird Special, every day 4-5:30 p.m.
  • , 1887 S. Bascom Ave. Monday-Friday have happy hours, with $4 "aussie-tizers."
  • Ricardo’s, 1750 Winchester Blvd. Tuesdays are "buy one taco and second is free" days.
  • , 1875 S. Bascom Ave. On Wednesdays, appetizers are $5, which includes pizza.
  • , 1400 West Campbell Ave. 10 percent off for seniors, anytime.
  • , 1875 S. Bascom Ave. 10 percent off for seniors, any time.

The following offer free drinks and/or discounts on drinks:

  • , 1301 Camden Ave.           
  • , 70 San Tomas Aquino Rd.
  • McDonalds, 1950 S. Bascom Ave.                   
  • , 1950 S. Bascom Ave.

Two new programs that I think are worth mentioning are the new Card with a $5 minimum, which offers points for all kinds of goodies. Check it out the next time you are in Starbucks. 

Outback Steakhouse has a special program from Wednesday through April 5 called the Red, White & Bloomin' Menu, with 5 percent of all sales going to Operation Homefront for those who are serving in the military and for veterans. Outback hopes to raise $1 million.

Let’s help them do it!

Here’s another tip on eating out, according to seniorark.com: “If there is a restaurant that you are just crazy to try … go there for lunch rather than dinner. You will get the same food for much less than you pay at dinner-time.” 

If you enjoy eating out and want healthy foods as well, be sure to check out the nutrition information posted on most websites for the fast-food eateries. now posts the fat grams and calorie counts of all its sandwiches. And don’t forget you can eat healthy at Subway Restaurants for breakfast and lunch.

Americans, seniors and boomers are eating more foods prepared away from home than ever before. According to Kroger.staywellsolutions, more adults are spending more time away from home, because both spouses are working more and taking time away from meal preparation. Therefore, people dine out more frequently. 

Seniors often feel that “this is their time” to enjoy getting out of the home and letting someone else prepare their meals. As a woman, I have always wondered “where is it written” that I have to cook every day now that my family is grown and off on their own. Dining out allows someone else to do the cooking and clean up—so relax and enjoy and be sure to ask for the “senior discount, please!"

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